An oil refinery, which was built in the 1950s, has exploded and left at least 20 people injured. The refinery helped produce gasoline and asphalt among other products. There have not been any casualties reported at this time. One employee claimed the explosion sounded like a “sonic boom” and the fire that resulted after the explosion “smelled like burned rubber.”
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At 10 a.m. on Thursday morning, an explosion at Husky Energy refinery in Wisconsin rocked nearby areas. The tanker that exploded contained oil and asphalt, according to RT.
CBS News reported that an unnamed contractor, who was in the plant during the explosion, said they were planning on shutting down the refinery momentarily for some much need repairs. The cause of the explosion is currently unknown at this time.
Reportedly, 20 people were taken to a hospital in Duluth, Minnesota. Following the explosion, a plume of black smoke billowed into the sky and could be seen for miles.
Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger released a statement following the explosion that stated they were able to put out the blazing inferno at 11:20 a.m. A secondary explosion was reportedly heard by nearby citizens around noon, which resulted in another blaze that has yet to be extinguished.
Husky Energy, a Canadian-based company, bought the refinery last year for a reported $490 million. The schools and surrounding neighborhoods have not been evacuated following the blast.
All 180 employees of the refinery have been evacuated, Fox News reported. Bob Jauch, a man who lives near the refinery, recalled the moment the explosion happened.
“We felt it 20 miles away, it was like a big shake in the ground,” Jauch said. “We didn’t know what it was. There was a big plume of smoke in the sky. I thought it was thunder. My daughter said, ‘Was that an earthquake?'”
Husky Energy is the only refinery in the state.