As oil prices continue to climb following Hurricane Harvey, another disaster
was barely avoided by ExxonMobil when the same Beaumont refinery that
shut down in August due to floodwaters caught on fire early Tuesday morning.
The fire came from a crude oil unit on the south side of the refinery.
The fire could be spotted miles away, but no one was injured.
Although Beaumont Fire and Rescue trucks were sent to the refinery, it’s
reported that they left at approximately 7 a.m.—only an hour after
the fire was first reported. ExxonMobil handled the fire with its own
fire crew. The onsite responders were able to jump into action to quickly
extinguish the flames.
As of 8:15 a.m., the voluntary shelter in place that kept nearby residents
in their homes had been lifted. A spokeswoman for the oil company stated
that the impact on air quality was “below detectable limits.”
The cause of the fire is currently unknown, and an investigation is pending.
Unfortunately, this fire is close enough to Hurricane Harvey that the
outbreak could have been a direct result of unchecked oil equipment that
was damaged from Harvey floodwaters. This same Beaumont refinery had to
be shut down in August when Harvey rainwaters took over the production lines.