Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta: Refinery Explosion : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


A lot of flames but no injuries after an explosion at a refinery in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta today. An Alberta Government official says a wellhead on an ethanol storage unit malfunctioned. Officials says there were no injuries and crews remain on the scene. The fire has also been contained.

-- Rachel Gibson (, August 26, 2001



FORT SASKATCHEWAN, Alta. (CP) -- A blaze at an energy company sent huge fireballs exploding into the sky and thick clouds of black smoke over this community just northeast of Edmonton on Sunday.

There were no reports of injuries and the fire was being contained at a wellhead at BP Canada Energy Co. just outside the city of Fort Saskatchewan, emergency services said.

Fort Saskatchewan has several industrial facilities including a number of large chemical and energy plants. Dow Chemical has 27 chemical tanks not far from the fire, and so the situation was considered very serious, a Global Television reporter at the scene said.

There was a release of ethane, a natural gas derivative, from a storage cavern at BP Canada's natural gas liquids plant Sunday morning, a company spokeswoman said.

Immediately after the gas release, the company activated its emergency response plan and evacuated all of its personnel from the area, the spokeswoman said.

Nearly two hours later, the ethane ignited from an unknown source, she said.

"There were no injuries as a result of the release. We've secured the area and are evaluating the action that is needed to secure the well."

"There is a fire plume approximately 150 feet high at the site and a large amount of black smoke as a result of the fire," she said, adding, "at this point, everything is under control."

The city of Fort Saskatchewan was on alert but there was no word of an evacuation. RCMP had asked residents to stay indoors as a preventative measure but emergency services said later they no longer needed to remain inside.

-- Rachel Gibson (, August 26, 2001.

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