VA: Oil refinery in Yorktown damaged by 3-alarm fire

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Oil refinery in Yorktown damaged by 3-alarm fire

By STEVE STONE, The Virginian-Pilot June 7, 2001

YORKTOWN -- Firefighters were battling a three-alarm blaze at the BP Amoco Refinery in Yorktown late Wednesday.

There were several explosions reported about the time the fire broke out, about 8 p.m., in the 2000 block of Goodwin Neck Road.

The fire occurred about the same time as a line of heavy thunderstorms were moving through the region, accompanied by lightning. It was unclear, however, if the weather played a role in the fire.

The blaze lit the night sky in red and orange, witnesses said. But firefighters appeared to have gained the upper hand by 10:30 p.m. as most flames disappeared, replaced by clouds of smoke.

Crews expected to be on the scene through the night, however, soaking down equipment and containing the last bits of flame until the fire burned itself out.

The fire was limited to the refining area of the plant and did not appear to have threatened any storage tanks. It appeared to have started in an area used in gasoline processing.

No evacuations were ordered around the plant, and there were no reports of injuries within the facility, police said. One firefighter was slightly hurt.

It was unclear if there were any fuel spills that might pose an environmental threat.

The Goodwin Neck Estates neighborhood is east of the refinery. To the refinery's west are several neighborhoods around Wormley Creek. The plant is well east of the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station.

Scores of firefighters from York County were called in. They worked with the BP Amoco fire department.

The Yorktown refinery, located on the north side of the Goodwin Neck Peninsula, was built in the mid-1950's. Its first processing unit came on-line in November 1956.

The facility presently processes about 62,000 barrels of sweet crude oil a day into various gasolines and distillates. The refinery employs about 200 people.

The Yorktown site includes a deep water dock on the York River, a waste water treatment plant, bulk storage tanks and general terminal operations.

The only fuels refinery on the Peninsula, the Yorktown site provides propane, butane, reformulated and conventional gasolines, low sulfur distillates and anode grade quality coke.

BP announced late last year that it intends to sell three of its U.S. refineries and their associated facilities as part of a revised global refining strategy. Yorktown is one of the sites. The other two refineries are in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Mandan, N.D.

Reach Steve Stone at 446-2309 or stone@pilotonline.com

http://www.pilotonline.com/news/nw0607amo.html

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), June 07, 2001


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