Processing Magazine

Video captures blast at Utah refinery

November 18, 2009

Surveillance video shows a fireball ripping through a Utah refinery during a gas explosion that damaged about 100 homes in the Woods Cross area, according to the Associated Press. The footage captured at the Silver Eagle refinery briefly shows a white cloud, which investigators say is hydrogen escaping from a ruptured pipe that erupts into a massive explosion. Four workers were thrown to the ground in the blast but were not seriously hurt. U.S. Chemical Board investigators are focusing on a 10-inch pipe that failed catastrophically and "serious deficiencies" in the plant''s program that''s supposed make sure its networks of pipes and equipment is safe and working properly. Company officials heeded a recommendation from investigators to shut down the refinery until it''s deemed safe to reopen. Board officials say it''s the first time they''ve ever recommended a plant temporarily shut down. Four of Silver Eagle''s five processing units were shut down, with the remaining shutdown expected in days. Company president Dave McSwain said that the move was in the best interest of the safety and health of its employees and the community. Company officials in a statement said they were "truly sorry" for the incident and were grateful that no one got hurt. It also said it has hired a consulting firm to help identify problems and make sure they''re fixed before operations resume. Investigators have raised concerns about the company''s previous contractors who were supposed to ensure the plant''s pipes remained thick enough to handle operations. It was unclear how long the plant, which employs about 60 people, will be shut down. Click here to view video...