Massive Fire Breaks Out at Texas ExxonMobil Oil Refinery

by Leanne Stahulak
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A fire injured at least four people at an ExxonMobil oil refinery in Baytown, Texas, early Thursday morning. At this time, all four are in stable condition.

The fire reportedly took place at 1 a.m. local time or 2 a.m. EST. According to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, initial reports indicate “some kind of explosion” from within the facility. He also tweeted out that three people had to be airlifted to the hospital through LifeFlight. One person went to the hospital via ambulance.

The Daily Mail reports that the “major industrial accident” occurred where a hydrotreater unit was being repaired. The unit works to produce gasoline. Per ExxonMobil refinery manager Rohan Davis, they’re still investigating the distinct cause of the fire.

“At this time, we’re still collecting all that information,” he said during a 5:30 a.m. EST news conference. “We will conduct a full and thorough investigation.” 

Davis spoke to several outlets, such as CNN and NBC News, and confirmed that the four injured people were in stable condition. He also confirmed that all other personnel had been accounted for. But he did not say whether an “explosion” started the fire at the ExxonMobil facility.

ExxonMobil released a statement themselves on Twitter earlier this morning. Around 7:30 a.m. EST, the Baytown Area branch wrote, “Our emergency response teams continue to work to extinguish the fire at our Baytown Complex. Our first priority is people in the community and in our facilities.”

The statement continued, “Air monitoring continues along the fence line. Available information shows no adverse impact at this time. No shelter in place has been called for our community and near neighbors. We deeply regret any disruption or inconvenience that this incident may have caused the community.”

Local Texas Residents React to ExxonMobil Fire

When the fire at ExxonMobil started early this morning, several local Baytown, Texas, residents took to Twitter to share pictures and updates about the incident.

“Just had big enough boom that house shook & everything inside the house rattled. Sounded like freight train connecting cars outside the house,” Twitter user Tonja Tolleson wrote.

When ExxonMobil did not confirm that an explosion occurred, she followed up with, “Why is @ExxonMobilBTA saying there was no explosion? There are tons of Baytown residents who would disagree with the freight train/tornado boom & houses being jarred & everything inside rattling. Surprised they didn’t call it another unscheduled release.”

A different Baytown resident wrote, “Explosion at Exxon! It rumbled my apartment and knocked my pictures off the wall.”

Someone else said, “Little more than a fire, my house shook to its foundation miles away from [Exxon].”

Check back here for more updates on the ExxonMobil fire.

Outsider.com