BP is now investigation the cause of a fire fueled by heavy crude at BP’s Texas City refinery Tuesday that sent a large plume of black smoke over the industrial sector of the city.
The fire broke out at about 1:30 p.m. and was out by 3:05 p.m., BP officials said. BP spokeswoman Ruth Rendon said the fire was at the Resid Hydrotreating Unit (RHU) in the western section of the refinery. The fire, fueled by heavy crude, also called bottom crude oil, proved tough to extinguish.
The fire broke out at 1:30 p.m. and BP accounted for all personnel, Rendon said. Crews shut the unit down, but the rest of the refinery remained operational, BP spokesman Scott Dean said.
BP fire crews battled the blaze. There were no calls for mutual aid, Rendon said.
BP cleared nonessential contractors from the area. A line of vehicles waiting to deliver to areas within BP stayed outside the refinery about six blocks away near 14th Street and Fifth Avenue South.
Contract workers mustered at points outside the refinery as well.
Streets to the refinery temporarily closed to traffic and there were no reports of any workers or residents going to the hospital for treatment.
Dean said air monitors did not pick up any significant pollutants in the air at the facility.
While there was no shelter in place ordered, the Texas City school district delayed the release of students who live in the areas closest to the city’s industrial sector.
The unit shut down and when it “cools down,” an investigation into what sparked the blaze would happen, BP spokesman Scott Dean said.
The fire did not impact operations of other units at the refinery, Dean said.