Environment & Science

Authorities respond to small explosion at Torrance refinery

File: An explosion at an ExxonMobile refinery in Torrance caused four minor injuries on Wednesday, February 18, 2015.
File: An explosion at an ExxonMobile refinery in Torrance caused four minor injuries on Wednesday, February 18, 2015.
Daniella Segura/KPCC

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Investigators are trying to figure out the cause of a small explosion and fire at the Torrance refinery early Saturday morning.

The refinery's own firefighters put out the fire, and the refinery is still operating. Del Amo Boulevard was closed for a time, and the refinery had to burn off some of the gases in the plant, so Torrance residents woke up to the sight of a very smoky flare Saturday morning.

Steve Treskes, assistant chief with the Torrance Fire Department, told KPCC there was no off-site impact and that crews are still on the scene investigating. There's no determination of the cause at this time.

The explosion comes on the two-year anniversary of a huge explosion that shut down the refinery for months.

That near-miss disaster – where a giant piece of equipment landed very close to a tank of hazardous modified hydrofluoric acid – heightened awareness among Torrance residents to the danger it could pose to the surrounding community.

On Saturday morning, a rally and short march are being planned from a park at Prairie and 190th streets to the front gates of the refinery for support of banning that chemical from use at the refinery.