At least seven people at a Corpus Christi oil refinery were injured, four possibly seriously, when a fire in or around an oil storage tank caused an explosion on Saturday.
Corpus Christi police and numerous other emergency officers responded to the Magellan facility in Corpus Christi just before 10 a.m. Police advised the community to seek refuge, but lifted the order around noon, although thick clouds of black smoke continued to pour into the southern Texas skies.
Magellan Midstream, owner of the tank, said in a statement that a fire broke out around 10 a.m. when contractors were cleaning it up. The explosion occurred about 40 minutes later, based on witnesses who told KIII television they heard the explosion around 10:40 a.m. The TV station said seven people had been taken to an area hospital. All were burned, local media reports said.
The Refinery Terminal Fire Company is starting a fire in the 1800 block area of Poth. Officials ask if you are in the immediate vicinity. Please protect yourself until further notice. pic.twitter.com/U5mzsUMavj
– Corpus Christi PD (@CorpusChristiPD) December 5, 2020
According to KRIS TV, one of the patients was released with minor injuries while another six – four in critical condition – were taken to the San Antonio Medical Center. Five will be flown and one will be transported by ambulance, the station said.
Austin-based Greg Abbott said state officials work “closely” with Magellan and Corpus Christi officials. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality monitors air quality in the area and the Texas Division of Emergency Management supports the response.
“The state stands ready to dedicate additional resources to respond to this event and to protect the community. Cecilia and I ask all Texans to join us for those injured in this explosion, for our first responders and for the safety of the people in the area Region to pray area. “