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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

February 17, 2012 at 2:57 PM

BP: No injuries from fire today at Cherry Point refinery

UPDATE 4:55 p.m.: A BP spokesman said there were no injuries from this afternoon’s fire, and all employees and contractors are  accounted for. Firefighters extinguished the blaze 90 minutes after it started.

Hector Castro, a spokesman for the state Department of Labor & Industries, said his department will investigate the response to the fire.

State inspectors found 13 serious safety violations at the refinery in 2010, and BP chose to fix the problems, Castro said.

UPDATE:   CHERRY-POINT, Whatcom County — The fire at the BP refinery at Cherry Point appears to be out, according to Seattle Times reporter Ron Judd who is at the scene.

No smoke or flames are visible, Judd reports. About 200 employees were standing in a parking lot in the rain, he said.

The fire burned hot for about an hour to 90 minutes. But the refinery’s firefighting crew, along with firefighters from the nearby Conoco refinery and other jurisdictions, appear to have extinguished the flames.

Judd also says there was no explosion prior to the fire.

Our earlier report:

There is a large fire in a tower at the BP refinery at Cherry Point, and a plume of black smoke is visible for several miles.

Though the refinery has its own firefighting crew, mutual aid has been requested from other agencies, according to a report by The Bellingham Herald.

There have been no reports of injuries, The Herald says. However other media report it is not know whether there are injuries, and a count of employees and contract workers is under way.

Read the full Bellingham Herald story here.

Lisa Shumski of Ferndale told the Seattle Times she was visiting her mother when she happened to look out the window around 2:225 p.m. and saw “giant plumes of black smoke and huge flames higher than the tops of trees.”

Shumski says her house, as well as her mother’s, are about five miles east of the refinery. At first, Shumski thought about her goats and chickens in the barn. But the smoke seems to be drifting to the north, she said.

 

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