KEY POINTS

  • Loud explosion, fire at oil refinery in California
  • Emergency services deployed, no injuries reported
  • Freeway 405 temporarily closed

A loud explosion followed by a huge eruption of flames engulfed the cooling tower at the Marathon Refinery in Carson, California, on Tuesday. The event took place at around 11 p.m. local time (2 a.m. EST).

The fire was reported to be caused in the cooling tower and the emergency services had reached the spot promptly. The fire crew had taken control of the fire and the cooling tower was being depressurized. No injuries were reported in the explosion.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department tweeted about the incident and said that an explosion occurred before the fire started erupting.

A spokesperson with the L.A. County Fire Department, Tony Imbrenda, said the initial response to the fire was handled by an internal fire brigade. He said the county fire department was to support them in dousing the fire.

Imbrenda said, “Typically what you see is our apparatus being brought in to cool equipment that’s in the region that’s being exposed to radiant heat to ensure that there’s no extension and the fire doesn’t make its way over to the adjacent equipment.”

People in the neighborhood area said that the windows were shaking and there were multiple explosions before the fire came over the refinery. After the explosion, the nearby Freeway 405 was temporarily closed as a safety measure but was then made operational at around 11.45 p.m. local time (2.45 a.m. EST).

The cause of the explosion was unknown and was under investigation. Health officials in the area were reportedly monitoring the air quality level in the area but there was no immediate call for evacuation in the area.

Philadelphia Oil Refinery An oil refinery is seen at sunset in front of the Philadelphia skyline on March 24, 2014. Photo: Reuters/David M. Parrott