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Blast at BP refinery sparks fire, rattles homes

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 28, 2014 at 4:16 pm •  Published: August 28, 2014

WHITING, Ind. (AP) — An explosion at BP oil refinery in northwestern Indiana along Lake Michigan rattled nearby homes and sparked a fire that was later extinguished, but it didn't cause any major injuries or halt production at the facility, a company official said Thursday.

The explosion Wednesday night at the Whiting refinery, which is just east of Chicago, was caused by a fire in a compressor on a processing unit, BP America spokesman Scott Dean said. It happened about 9 p.m. and was extinguished by the plant's fire department within a couple of hours.

One employee was taken to a hospital as a precaution, but was later released, Dean said. Refinery operations were "minimally" affected by the fire, he said.

BP notified the state that more than 500 pounds of sulfur dioxide were released into the air because of the explosion, according to Indiana Department of Environmental Management spokesman Dan Goldblatt. He said a report is still being prepared, but that nearby monitors showed sulfur dioxide levels remained well below maximum levels allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Sulphur dioxide is commonly caused by cars, diesel trucks and coal power plants and contributes to acid rain.

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