Investigation Findings of Tosco Fatal Fire Due in August

It's little surprise that 18- to 34-year-olds are at the heart of a nationwide increase in illegal drug use, and the manufacturing industry traditionally draws heavily from this pool of job seekers.

Tosco Corp.'s refinery in Avon, Calif., is returning to full production capacity as the chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) prepares to convene a Board of Inquiry on Aug. 18 as part of the agency's investigation into the February 1999 fire that claimed the lives of four workers and seriously injured another.

The Avon refinery should be running at full capacity by late July or early August, said Thomas D. O'Malley, Tosco's chairman and chief executive officer. In releasing second-quarter 1999 earnings July 22, Tosco reported pretax expenses of $39 million related to the restart of the Avon facility following its stand down for a safety review.

CSB investigators will present their preliminary investigation findings during the Board of Inquiry to be convened in Contra Costa County, Calif. Other organizations conducting investigations will be invited to present their findings. The Board of Inquiry will be followed by a public comment session.

The CSB is completing the first phase of its investigation as it attempts to determine the causes of the incident and develop recommendations on how similar incidents may be prevented in the future.

"The board's work in this investigation is important to the families and communities that were affected by this terrible incident, and it is also important to the oil refining industry to help it gain knowledge that will contribute to safe operations and accident prevention," CSB Chairman Dr. Paul L. Hill Jr. said.

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