CSB investigates propane fire at Valero's McKee refinery

The US Chemical Safety Board is investigating a Feb. 16 propane fire at Valero Energy Corp.'s McKee refinery in Sunray, Tex. The blaze seriously burned three workers and forced the facility to shut down (OGJ Online, Feb. 21, 2007).

Nick Snow
Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 20 -- The US Chemical Safety Board is investigating a Feb. 16 propane fire at Valero Energy Corp.'s McKee refinery in Sunray, Tex. The blaze seriously burned three workers and forced the facility to shut down (OGJ Online, Feb. 21, 2007).

CSB investigators began working at the site a few days later, interviewing witnesses and examining the area where the fire began. "The exact mechanical failure that led to the propane release remains to be identified. Further modeling and testing of piping, valves, and flanges will be needed to determine precisely what happened," lead investigator Jim Lay said on Mar. 9.

He said that Valero has cooperated with the investigation and has provided drawings, written procedures, and inspection records in response to CSB's document requests. CSB, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Valero also have entered into a written agreement to make sure relevant evidence is preserved and tested in an orderly manner, Lay said.

Contact Nick Snow at nsnow@cox.net.

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