No fatalities have been reported, but at least 20 people have been taken to hospitals, six ofthem seriously injured. The extent of injuries is unknown. A black plume of acrid smoke was across the city. It’s not known what caused the initial explosion which occurred just after 10 a.m. But a second, larger fire erupted just after noon with multiple explosions, sending another thick, black cloud for miles.
Blake smoke after explosion at refinery in Wisconsin
Police advised people to stay away from the area and roads around the refinery have been blocked off. The Superior Fire Department sent all three engine companies to the explosion, and nearby Duluth sent over a command vehicle. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office just after 1 p.m. ordered a broad evacuation for everyone within two miles to the north of the refinery and, because of the potential toxic nature of the smoke, were telling people who lived or worked within 10 miles south and three miles east and west evacuate to a safer area. No damage estimate was available. Wisconsin’s only refinery, which dates back to the early 1950s, produces gasoline, asphalt and other products. It has a processing capacity of around 50,000 barrels per day and a storage capacity of 3.6 million barrels of crude and products.