Superior refinery explosion: 11 hurt, miles evacuated

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The explosion at the oil refinery happened at about 10 a.m.

In Duluth, St. Luke's Hospital was treating one person and did not expect to receive any more, spokeswoman Jessica Stauber said.

Panger said the initial fire was out by 11:20 a.m., although smoke could still be seen rising from the plant.

Roughly 165 employees work at the refinery at any given time, Schade said, along with contractors.

There were no reports of fatalities, and all of the refinery's workers have been accounted for, Husky Energy's Duvall said.

The Essentia Health system said that its hospitals and care centers in the area saw 16 patients as a result of the incident, including some refinery workers but also several residents who were treated and released for minor, evacuation-related injuries. The fire had poured thick clouds of noxious black smoke into the air after the explosion rocked the refinery. Freighter fans today were posting pictures to social media of large ships being loaded with cargo while the refinery fire burned in the background. He said the fire is reportedly out.

- With a plume of smoke still billowing miles behind as a nearby industrial fire raged on Thursday, Superior Mayor Jim Paine announced an evacuation order for most of his town-though the air remains safe to breathe, he insisted, calling the move a "precautionary measure".

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"The hardest thing about fighting an asphalt fire is you have to have enough resources to put it all out at once", Battalion Chief Scott Gordon said.

A four-person team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board will investigate.

Fire Chief Steve Panger said local authorities were still working with federal agencies to determine the cause of the explosion.

Superior police are advising people to stay away from the area and roads around the refinery have been blocked off.

Police and Douglas County officials on Thursday evening posted they were allowing residents to return to their homes but asking them to wait at least two hours before doing so.

Most of Superior was covered by the order. Another five are being treated at St. Mary's Hospital in Superior, Talarico said. The extent of the injuries were not immediately known. It's Wisconsin's only refinery, and produces gasoline, asphalt and other products.

Husky purchased the refinery from Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP previous year, saying at the time that it meant to keep all of its workforce of 180. It processes both heavy crude from the Canadian tar sands in Alberta and lighter North Dakota Bakken crude.

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