Tosco Calif. Oil Refinery Catches Fire

Tosco Corp. announced that due to a fire late yesterday, a portion\r\nof its Los Angeles Refinery was shutdown. There were no\r\ninjuries associated with the fire.

Tosco Corp. announced that due to a fire late yesterday, a portion of its Los Angeles Refinery (LAR) was shutdown. There were no injuries associated with the fire.

Tosco''s LAR Refinery system is comprised of two locations, Carson and nearby Wilmington plant, which act as one refining system.

The coker processing unit at Carson has been shutdown.

The fire sent plumes of thick black smoke billowing over three cities, and was extinguished by firefighters after three hours.

The company said its industrial hygienists and South Coast Air Quality Management District have been conducting air monitoring in and around the refinery.

Initial monitoring did not detect anything that posed a health risk to the surrounding community, according to Tosco.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation and the extent of the damage and time to repair is presently unknown.

Tosco paid $25 million last year to resolve lawsuits from a blast that killed four workers at its Avon refinery in the San Francisco area in February 1999.

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) recently released its final report on the fire saying that it could have been prevented by better management supervision of safety.

CSB is an independent federal agency who investigates the causes of chemical incidents.

In its report, CSB recommended that Tosco Corp. improve its safety auditing procedures and ensure that its seven other refineries do not have the safety deficiencies that were found at Avon.

Tosco is the largest independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products in the United States, and is the nation''s largest operator of company controlled convenience stores.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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