CSB gives more details about Utah refinery fire

The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board provided more details about a Jan. 12 refinery fire near Salt Lake City as its investigators prepared to return to the plant on Jan. 27.

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 26 -- The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board provided more details about a Jan. 12 refinery fire near Salt Lake City as its investigators prepared to return to the plant on Jan. 27.

The fire in Tank 105 of the Silver Eagle refinery in Woods Cross seriously burned four workers. The atmospheric storage tank was almost full when a large vapor cloud was released and ignited at about 5:30 p.m. MST, causing a massive flash fire, CSB said on Jan. 26.

It said the tank was nearly full the night of the incident, containing 440,000 gal of what the refinery terms "light naphtha." The tank has an interior floating room and has six atmospheric vents on the top sides of its exterior roof, the federal agency said.

Investigations Supervisor Don Holmstrom said CSB will examine a reported history of releases from the tank and the tank seal's integrity. "We will also be looking at the operation of the refinery and any recent process changes to determine why highly volatile hydrocarbons were released on Jan. 12," he said.

Tank 105 was receiving up to three different streams of hydrocarbon liquids from the refinery, including "light" or low-boiling substances at the time of the incident, he added.

CSB said its investigators were present at the refinery for 2 weeks, conducting about 30 interviews of witnesses, gathering samples and evidence, and examining the accident scene. It said that the refinery's staff and management have cooperated with the investigation, and that the CSB team was coordinating with investigators from Utah's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the South Davis Metro Fire Agency.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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