Flames have died down at a 363,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Carson, California, after an explosion and fire Tuesday night that authorities report originated in a cooling tower.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department pinpointed the time of the initial blast at the Marathon Petroleum refinery at 10:50 p.m. Witnesses reported seeing the towering flames from more than 20 miles away.
Authorities immediately closed Interstate 405 near the refinery but reopened the freeway's northbound lane less than two hours later.
Jennifer Atenza, a public information officer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said on Twitter that the agency had secured a perimeter around the refinery.
“At this time we don’t anticipate need to evacuate residents,” Atenza said.
Marathon is the largest refinery on the West Coast, according to the company's website. It manufactures gasoline and diesel fuel, along with distillates, petroleum coke, anode-grade coke, chemical-grade propylene, fuel-grade coke, heavy fuel oil, and propane.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department reports that monitoring of air quality indicates no threat to the public.
“Marathon personal (sic) keeping flames in check via fixed ground monitors while they work to depressurized the system,” the department’s Twitter site reports. “LACOFD assisting.”
As a precaution, the department recommends that residents in the area stay indoors and keep windows closed.
“At this time, the fire is nearly out,” Inspector Sean Ferguson told local media. “We have a little bit of residual fuel that’s still in the pipeline.”