Fire at Valero refinery in Memphis

By Jason Miles - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Firefighters responded to a large fire Thursday afternoon at the Valero refinery in downtown Memphis.

Officials said the fire erupted around 2:30 p.m. along an exterior pipeline containing either gasoline or diesel.

Two employees in their 50's were doused by the fuel and had to be de-contaminated. Meanwhile, a 29 year-old man received the worst injuries when he was burned by flaming fuel and vapors.

"He received burns to 45 percent of his body, his chest area and upper abdominal area," said Lt. Wayne Cook of the Memphis Fire Department. "He was transported to the Regional Medical Center's burn unit in critical condition."

Investigators are still trying to determine what sparked the fire, which took about 40 minutes to get under control.

Officials said part of a building near the burning pipeline was damaged.

A Valero spokesperson released the following statement:

"At approximately 2:30 pm today, a fire was reported at a hydrotreater complex at the Valero Memphis Refinery. The plant's Emergency Response Team quickly extinguished the fire. The refinery notified all applicable agencies and the local fire department has responded. All personnel have been accounted for. One Valero employee was transported to a local hospital. There is not expected to be any offsite environmental impacts. Most refinery units were already shut down for maintenance at the time of the fire."

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