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Sarnia Residents Woken By Blast As Imperial Oil Plant Erupts Into Flames
Thursday December 14, 2006
Thousands of Sarnia, Ont. residents were shaken from their sleep by the sound of a huge explosion early Thursday.
The 3am blast came from the Imperial Oil refinery and precipitated a major fire at the plant. Firefighters rushed to the scene and have since brought the inferno under control. At its height flames were shooting 200 feet into the air.
Area residents called the local radio station CHOK to say that they'd heard a "loud and prolonged" blast before the fire broke out. Mayor Mike Bradley was among them.
"Well, I live very close to the plant. I heard the explosion. I heard the noise and went to my apartment balcony and saw the fire and left immediately for the Sarnia police service," he said. "The 911 lines were clogged because citizens across the community for many kilometres could hear the noise and wanted to know what was going on."
Fortunately no one was injured and all the facility's workers have been accounted for. The cause isn't known yet.
Sarnia police Const. Bill Baines said no evacuations were required. Residents had been asked to stay inside and keep windows and doors closed as experts conducted air quality checks. But that advisory has been lifted as it appears there's no danger to the public.
About 1,030 employees work at the plant, which produces 119,000 barrels of crude oil a day. It also makes unleaded gasoline, jet fuel, stove oil, diesel and other petroleum-based products.
CityNews: Sarnia Residents Woken By Blast As Imperial Oil Plant Erupts Into Flames