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UPDATE 2-Exxon says fire at Torrance, Calif., refinery quickly extinguished
March 12, 2015 / 2:06 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 2-Exxon says fire at Torrance, Calif., refinery quickly extinguished

(Updates with detail throughout, adds byline)

By Jessica Resnick-Ault

March 11 (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp said its fire brigade had quickly extinguished a blaze Wednesday evening at its 155,000-barrel-a-day Torrance, California, refinery, the site of a Feb. 18 fire.

The company said there were no injuries in the second blaze. The local fire department also arrived at the plant to offer assistance, Exxon said in a statement. Exxon did not specify where in the refinery the fire broke out. The fire did not affect the refinery’s current operations, according to the company’s statement.

Five investigators from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board were at the plant Wednesday to investigate the Feb. 18 explosion. They had just left the plant when the blast occurred, according to Daniel Horowitz, a senior adviser to the CSB.

The previous fire broke out in the refinery’s gasoline-producing fluid catalytic cracking unit. The company is still operating the refinery at reduced rates after the previous incident.

Exxon told analysts last week that the unit that had the previous incident was an emission controls device on a gasoline-making unit, and that they were still securing and assessing that unit. Exxon said it had parts of the refinery running crude and has plans to restart other parts next month. Longer-term, Exxon said it has been working with regulators to determine whether it can restart the unit without the emissions device.

Exxon did not immediately say whether the restart plans for next month would be affected by the latest fire.

The United Steelworkers union, which represents refinery workers at about 70 plants across the U.S., have been on strike for 39 days as of Wednesday at 15 plants, including 12 refineries. Workers at the Torrance refinery have not been on strike. (Reporting by Rory Carroll in San Francisco and Kevin Jose in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Wills)

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