A fire in a processing unit down for maintenance at an ExxonMobil refinery in Southeast Texas left 12 contract workers injured Wednesday, officials said.
Beaumont Fire Department spokesman Brad Penisson said three of those injured suffered critical burns. Other workers suffered burns and broken bones.
The fire occurred around 10:30 a.m. in a process unit down for maintenance, said ExxonMobil spokeswoman Rachael L. Moore. These units help process crude oil into refined products.
The company said they were able to quickly bring the fire under control. Penisson said refinery personnel put out the fire before Beaumont fire department units arrived.
ExxonMobil said they had accounted for all employees and contractors working in the area of the process unit.
“We sincerely regret this has happened and will conduct a complete investigation to determine the cause of the incident,” Moore said in a statement.
Seven of the injured went to Baptist Hospital in Beaumont, said spokeswoman Mary Poole. Three of those workers who had suffered burns later transferred to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, with one in critical condition and the other two in stable condition. The four workers who remained at Baptist Hospital were in stable condition, Poole said.
ExxonMobil did not immediately know the conditions of the five other injured workers, who went to Christus Hospital-St. Elizabeth in Beaumont.
The refinery is part of a 2,400-acre complex near downtown Beaumont, which is about 90 miles northeast of Houston. The complex includes a refinery, a chemical plant and a lube plant. The refinery processes 365,000 barrels of crude oil per day and produces 2.8 billion gallons of gasoline annually. The entire complex has about 2,000 employees and more than 1,000 contract workers.