Oklahoma refinery blast probe could take months

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Labor says determining the cause of an explosion at an Oklahoma refinery that killed one worker and critically injured another could take months.

By KEN MILLER, AP Published: October 1, 2012
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It could take months for officials to determine what caused an explosion at an Oklahoma refinery that killed one worker and critically injured another, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Department of Labor said Monday.

The plant, Wynnewood Refining Co., owned by CVR Energy Inc. of Sugar Land, Texas, was shut down for scheduled maintenance and upkeep, known as a “turnaround,” when a boiler that was being brought back online exploded Friday evening. The turnaround resumed Saturday at the refinery.

Billy Smith, 34, of Pauls Valley, Okla., was killed and Russell Mann of Davis, Okla., remained hospitalized in critical condition Monday at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in Oklahoma City. His age was not released.

Investigators with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration arrived at the scene Saturday and were expected to remain there for up to a week, said Elizabeth Todd, a spokeswoman with the labor department.

“They will go out to the site to determine violations, if any, and the cause of the incident,” Todd said. “Every case is different. It could take weeks; it could take months. Citations and possibly fines will be issued if violations are found.”

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