Small blaze at Torrance refinery raises concerns among residents

TORRANCE, Calif. (KABC) -- Fire crews battled a blaze at the Torrance refinery Tuesday evening, which left many residents concerned about the possibility of more dangerous fires at the location.

The fire was reported at about 4:30 p.m. and firefighters from the Torrance Fire Department assisted at the scene.

Aerial footage from AIR7 HD showed crews using large built-in hoses to launch water at the flames.

MORE: Torrance refinery gets violation notice from air quality agency due to 'repeated' flare-ups

Officials from the refinery said the fire broke out in a processing area. Fire officials said the fire was knocked down at about 4:45 p.m.

There were no injuries reported or road closures in the area due to the fire, according to the fire department.

Anita Kersting said she and other neighbors are concerned things could get more dangerous after what happened last year.

"It's getting scary nowadays. It seems like the accidents are happening more frequent and being a block away - it's scary," she said.

In February 2015, when the refinery was owned by ExxonMobil, an explosion at the plant injured two people and launched an 80,000 pound piece of equipment within feet of a structure that housed a highly volatile and toxic substance, modified hydrofluoric acid (MHF).

Federal investigators in January said a failure to follow safety guidelines was partly to blame for the blast and that the aftermath could have been "catastrophic" had the equipment hit the unit housing MHF.

California workplace regulators fined ExxonMobil more than $500 million for the violations related to the explosion.

MORE: Torrance refinery resumes operations 1 year after explosion

The plant began operating again one year after the explosion and was later sold to PBF Energy.

It is too soon to tell if gas prices will be affected by the small blaze, according to AAA.
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