Residents in Los Angeles County thought it was an earthquake. A severe
shake rattled windows and structures of homes miles away from the ExxonMobil
Refinery were a powerful explosion took place this Wednesday morning.
Structures were ripped apart and smoke and flames could be seen coming
out of the oil refinery that is located in the Torrance area.
Located just south of the 405 Freeway, the blast and resulting smoke was
so intense that it required an air quality advisory. While there was believed
to be no chemical release or harmful emissions, nearby homes and businesses
are being advised to stay indoors and keep their windows shut. Ash was
seen raining down on vehicles nearby the large refinery property. Torrance
school officials took precautions by enforcing a sheltered-in-place order
for staff and students at local schools due to the air issues.
Emergency Procedures Enacted, Workers Hospitalized
Shortly after the shaking, residents began spotting a large flare-up from
the refinery plant’s burnoff stack. This is safety measure to help
eliminate pressure and reduce chance of explosions like the one that took
place at the refinery. Police reported three minor injuries, with four
contractors sent to the hospital for further evaluation of their damages.
Emergency procedures were quickly put into place after the explosion, which
reportedly took place around 8:50 a.m. this morning. According to statements
from the ExxonMobil Torrance Refinery, all employees are working with
the appropriate agencies to ensure that correct protocols are followed.
They stated that their main focus was to maintain the safety of workers
and surrounding neighbors.
While only minor injuries were reported, workers claimed that the blast
was extremely strong and seemed as loud as a sonic boom. Currently, there
has been no official cause identified in the explosion and the severity
of the damage caused has not been fully assessed. Investigations into
the accident will continue from both refinery officials and Torrance police.