A 300-ton crane has fallen at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, CA. According to the LA Times, the disturbing series of events that have taken place at the ExxonMobil refinery have caught the attention of several news outlets. Although the graphic images of the crane look quite intimidating at first glance, no one was seriously injured.
The massive crane reportedly fell at the 750-acre refinery, located approximately 20 miles outside of Los Angeles, around 9:30 a.m this morning. Out of the 650 workers that are employed at the ExxonMobil refinery, only three suffered minor injuries. According to Battalion Chief Robert Millea of the Torrance Fire Department, the minor injuries didn’t even require the workers to be transported to a local hospital for medical treatment. One worker in particular, is said to have injured his knee, according to Millea, but they managed to escape the falling crane, which fell while a reactor was being lifted.
According to My News LA, Torrance firefighters were dispatched to the ExxonMobil refinery at 9:36 a.m. As a result of the crane collapse, flammable gas was suppressed by water monitors, but there were no further offsite problems associated with the crane. The refinery’s safety flare system was also activated at 9:39 a.m. almost immediately after firefighters were dispatched, according to a notification filed by Exxon with the South Coast Air Management District, according to Reuters.
“The Torrance refinery submitted an unplanned flaring notification to the South Coast Air Quality Management District due to a breakdown in some units,” Spitler said. “The unplanned flaring notification was unrelated to the crane incident. Operations are normal; no impact to production.”
As expected, the malfunctioned crane has caused damage to infrastructure, but ExxonMobil spokeswoman Gesuina Paras released a brief statement addressing the company’s concerns. The safety of the employees is a top priority. “Our main concern is for the safety of our employees, contractors and the community,” Paras said. “There is no impact to the community.”
The latest news about the ExxonMobil crane collapse at the Torrance refinery follows the explosion that occurred back in February of 2015. Due to the explosion, many parts of the refinery are still inoperable. That particular incident caused extensive damage to the refinery’s infrastructure and four workers were left injured. According to NBC Los Angeles, Federal safety authorities cited problematic safety procedures as the reason for the explosion.
According to Reuters, the ExxonMobil spokesperson Todd Spitler has released a statement detailing how the crane collapse effected today’s operations and sales. In the emailed statement, he also revealed that the problem with the crane was confirmed to be “the result of breakdowns in some units.” However, the flaring was an unrelated issue.
“Change in control still remains mid-2016,” Spitler said in an email.
The pipe damage and crane, in addition to the time it will take to clear the area, could delay normal operations for several days which could cause be problematic for the sales agreement the Exxon refinery signed with PBF Energy back in September of last year. The plant is set to receive approximately $537.5 million for the agreement.
The refinery just recommenced with operations in May 10, 2016. Shortly after the plant reopened, gas prices increased statewide. Wholesale gas prices jumped from five cents As one of only five refineries in the state of California, the Exxonmobil refinery in Torrance, which produces 155,000 barrels each day, serves as vast contributor for oil.
It is now unclear when the refinery will resume normal production and there is no way to determine the magnitude of the financial setback, at this point, because the down time will be the biggest factor.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]