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Explosion injures two at oil recycling plant

23 August 2022

An explosion at an oil recovery and recycling company injured two people in New Mexico, US on August 19. The incident happened at a facility belonging to Mesa Oil in the town of Belen, around 40 miles (64km) south of Albuquerque.

Image: Belen Fire & Rescue
Image: Belen Fire & Rescue

According to local news site Valencia Country News-Bulletin, fire officials were called to the Mesa Oil facility in the Rio Grande Industrial Park at around 12:07 local time after a recycling expansion tank on a tower exploded. Belen Fire Chief Nicholas Moya told the News-Bulletin that a preliminary investigation indicated that a 50-gallon tank became over-pressurised and exploded. Debris from the explosion fell to the ground. One person was hit by debris while another suffered burns. Both were transported to hospital in Albuquerque.

The Belen Fire Department along with Valencia County Fire Department, and Rio Grande Estates Fire & Rescue attended the scene. In a Facebook post, the Belen Fire Department said that a fire was contained and extinguished soon after firefighters arrived at the scene.

Officials said that the reason for the tank becoming over-pressurised was unknown.

Mesa Oil and its subsidiary, Mesa Environmental, specialise in oil recovery and oil recycling. Used oil is processed at the company’s three facilities in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico using a unique internal processing technology.

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