Refinery explosion reported at Big Spring
Police and firefighters in Big Spring are responding to an explosion at a refinery east of town, a dispatcher said.
When asked if there was anyone dead or injured, the dispatcher responded, "We're not sure right now."
The explosion was reported at 8 a.m. at the Alon USA refinery, near the intersection of East Interstate 20 and Refinery Road in Big Spring. Residents reported feeling a large blast.
A crew from Midland-Odessa television Channel 9 reported seeing flames and a huge plume of smoke rising from the facility that sits just off Interstate 20 in the Howard County city.
Odessa television station KOSA reported that the blast could be felt as far away as Gardendale, Greenwood and Northeast Midland.
The station reported that I-20 has been shut down and that nearby Howard College has been evacuated. KOSA also reported that medical teams from across West Texas, including CareStar air ambulance service, are on the way to assist at the refinery. Residents who live within a mile of the refinery are being asked to evacuate, KOSA reported. It is a voluntary evacuation, the station reported.
The Associated Press also reported that it was unclear whether there were injuries at the refinery owned by Dallas-based Alon USA, which employs about 170 people and produces about 70,000 barrels a day.
"All I know is that it blew up," said the dispatcher, who declined to give her name. John Moseley, managing editor of the Big Spring Herald, told the AP that he heard the blast and said, "I thought it would knock the walls down."
Blake Lewis, a spokesman for Alon USA, told the Associated Press that the company had an unconfirmed report of an incident but did not know any details. He said a plant manager was on the way to the plant.
Big Spring is about 250 miles west of Fort Worth.
Star-Telegram.com: | 02/18/2008 | Refinery explosion reported at Big Spring