Around 10 a.m. this morning, the small town of Superior, Wisconsin was rocked when a tank containing either crude oil or asphalt exploded at the Husky Energy oil refinery.
Pictures from the scene show a fire raging as clouds of black smoke come off many structures on the property. In a statement, Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger told press that multiple causalities that have been reported while also confirming that a number of agencies were responding to the incident. The Grand Forks Herald shares that witnesses claimed to have seen at least seven ambulances on the property in addition to helicopter ambulances.
It is believed that at least 20 people were injured in the blast but thankfully, no fatalities have been reported at this time. The extent of injuries to the victims are currently unknown. Many people who were on the property at the time of explosion describe the sound of the blast as a “sonic boom.”
Newsweek reports that the fire was initially put out around 10:45 a.m. but later the Superior Police Department sent out a tweet saying that the fire had reignited. One man reported seeing a crack in one of the large white storage tanks with a thick, black liquid pouring out of it. He also stated that the smell on the scene could be compared to that of burning rubber.
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) April 26, 2018
In a tweet around 12:15 p.m., the Superior Police Department told everyone in the area to steer clear of the area immediately surrounding the refinery but said that it was not necessary for anyone the evacuate. However, another tweet that was just sent out just a few minutes ago states that the Douglas County Emergency Management is asking everyone within a one mile radius of the refinery, 10 miles to the south to evacuate at this time.
According to their website, Husky Energy lists their objectives as “increasing feedstock flexibility to bring the best-priced crude to its refineries, improving the range of its products, and enhancing market access to capture the best returns.” The Chicago Tribune reports that Husky is based out of Alberta, Canada but the company recently purchased the Wisconsin refinery sometime last year. The refinery, which is the only one in Wisconsin, produces gasoline, asphalt, and countless other products.
This is a developing story.