A Bango oil explosion has left one man in critical condition after oil storage tankers caught fire and exploded.
The accident happened at an oil refinery in Churchill County, located in northern Nevada. Officials said the explosion was reported at the Bango refining plant near Fallon at close to 9:15 am on Monday, sending a 24-year-old man to the University of California, Davis Burn Center.
Officials are still trying to determine the cause of the Bango oil explosion, but said it may have been sparked by a torch used to warm up pipes.
Officials said no hazardous materials escaped the plant, and there was no danger to people living near the Bango refining plant.
The aftermath of the explosion could be seen and felt for miles, residents said.
“You could see the black smoke from out of town as soon as I walked out the door from my office,” said Churchill County Sheriff Ben Trotter.
Firefighters had the main fire contained within two hours of when it was first reported, but they reported hot spots that persisted through Monday afternoon.
The other 14 employees at the refinery at the time of the explosion were all accounted for, police said. Operations at the plant have been shut down while officials investigate what caused the blast.
“We are grateful for the first responders who airlifted the injured employee to the hospital and to those whose efforts put out the fire,” Dave Peel, Bango’s chief operating officer, said in a news release from the company. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to our employee’s family and every effort will be made to assure them that he receives the care he deserves.”
The Bango oil explosion comes after years of complaints from nearby residents. The plant was actually closed down briefly in 2007 after a government inspection, and in 2012, OSHA issued six violations at the plant, including one regarding energy control procedures.