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Explosion, Fire at Tyler Oil Refinery Injures Three, Kills One

Houston, TX – November 21, 2008 — An explosion and fire at an oil refinery in Tyler, TX on Thursday, November 20, 2008, killed one worker and injured three more.

Just before 2 PM, an explosion rocked the Delek oil refinery, setting off a fire in the sat-gas area of the plant. Fire crews brought the flames under control, only to have them reignited by a second leak. According to officials, however, surrounding communities are in no danger.

Four workers were injured by the explosion and fire. Two were flown to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, a facility known for its large burn injury unit. One worker later died from his injuries; the others were treated for injuries ranging from burns to smoke inhalation.

The refinery is operated by Delek Refining Ltd., which is owned by Delek US Holdings. It employs over 270 people and has a maximum capacity of 58,000 barrels per day (bpd), placing it among the 100 largest refineries in the United States.

In February of this year, Delek was fined $68,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after a planned inspection which uncovered, among other things, serious safety concerns with the way the plant handled hazardous chemicals. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality also fined the facility over $230,000 for production and equipment failure violations.

Official are still investigating the cause of the explosion.

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