Nov 15, 2013 9:06 AM
PASCAGOULA, Miss. - Authorities were investigating the cause of an early Friday explosion and fire at a southern Mississippi refinery that killed one worker and injured another.
Allan Sudduth, spokesman for Chevron in Mississippi, said the incident happened in the Cracking II Processing Unit around 2 a.m.
"There was a detonation and fire in that unit," Sudduth said.
The cracking unit is used in the process of converting crude into fuel.
"We are on the scene right now assessing it and we are cooperating with local, state and federal employees," Sudduth said. "That's part of our response plan."
Sudduth said the family of the person who was killed has been notified and the person's name was to be released later Friday. Sudduth said the dead man was a Chevron employee and not a contractor.
Sudduth said a second worker was injured during the incident and was treated at the scene and released.
About 30 firefighters and police officers responded to the overnight fire. Many of them remained at the front gate, just in case Chevron's fire teams needed assistance in one of its processing units.
Jackson County Emergency Services Director Earl Etheridge said fire units from Pascagoula, Jackson County and the Forts Lake Volunteer Fire Department responded to offer backup support to Chevron's fire crews and that all the flames have been extinguished.
"We have a response plan in case of an incident at Chevron and we followed that plan," Etheridge said. "All we do is supply support and protect outside the fence line."
Etheridge said Chevron's response crew determined there's no additional danger to the surrounding community.
"They did some air monitoring for us and determined there's not going to be an environmental impact outside the area where the fire was, so there's no threat to the water or public," he said.