Tonya Graddy, a 46-year-old woman From Semmes, Alabama, was killed in an explosion and subsequent fire at the Chevron Refinery in Pascagoula. Various authorities were at the refinery for the whole day on Friday trying to establish what caused the massive explosion.
What is known is that at approximately 2 a.m. something went wrong in a processing unit at the refinery.
Kevin Barber who works a few miles away from the refinery spoke to reporters about the blast: “A big and black cloud of smoke balling up like an atomic bomb explosion,” he said, continuing: “Over that way I saw two big clouds of smoke. Chevron was on fire.”
A brother of one of the workers at the Chevron Refinery, Tommy Hicks, read about the explosion on Facebook and went into panic: “I was trying to make sure my brother was okay. It is a rough life to make,” he said.
Unfortunately, Tonya Graddy, known to her friends as “Toni” wasn’t lucky enough to escape the fire.
General Manager of the refinery, Tom Karvar, said about the loss of Tonya Graddy:
Right now, the most important thing is to address the needs of her family.It is, of course, a tragic morning. This refinery is a big refinery. We have over 1,500 employees and it may sound like a lot of people, but it is a family. What we don’t want to do is feed and foster a lot of speculation as to the root cause and causes of this. We have to have this investigation team, which will be a dedicated effort. We will do that essentially around the clock until we have a clear picture of what happened
This is the third incident in a decade at the Pascagoula refinery, two of which have resulted in death. In 2003 a refinery worker was killed when he fell from scaffolding while at work. And in the summer of 2007 a fire was ignited in one of the crude processing units there.
A full investigation is underway into what caused the fatal explosion at the Chevron refinery which resulted in the untimely death of Tonya Graddy.