Flammable product that spilled into an elevated pipe rack caused a Feb. 11 fire at the ExxonMobil refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a report issued by the company Tuesday states.
The report, required within seven days under state environmental guidelines, also states that “reportable quantities for certain substances were exceeded as a result of this event.”
According to ExxonMobil, the incident began at about 11:16 p.m. when a hydrocarbon product spilled into the pipe rack, a series of structural steel supports that run along the length of the overhead pipe system. That spill subsequently ignited.
High volume water spray delivered to the flames via fixed system was activated within seven minutes.
About 75 members of the refinery’s own in-house fire brigade responded to the fire and were able to contain it within the immediate area of the pipe rack in minutes. Flames died out after six and a half hours of firefighting, the report states.
No injuries occurred during the emergency.
Technically known as the “Unauthorized Discharge Notification Report,” ExxonMobil’s filing with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality indicates that at least 126 separate air quality readings were conducted during the fire, the first within 15 minutes of the first alarm.
A separate filing with environmental authorities shows that more than 13,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide was released, along with 2,681 pounds of cancer-causing 1,3 butadiene.
“This information demonstrates that although the reportable quantities of some materials were exceeded at the site of the fire, the majority of the released material was combusted and therefore not detected at all,” the report states.
ExxonMobil’s refinery in Baton Rouge, with an input capacity of 502,000 barrels per day, is the fifth largest in the nation and ranks as the 13th largest in the world. The refinery celebrated its centennial in 2019.
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