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Fire at Marathon Petroleum refinery kills one worker, injures two

16 May 2023

A fire at Marathon Petroleum’s Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas killed a worker and injured two others on 15 May. The incident comes days after a gas leak injured four employees at a Marathon refinery in California on 4 May.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

The fire at the Galveston Bay Refinery broke out at 09:30 local time and was extinguished within a few hours, Marathon Petroleum said in a statement.

According to Reuters news agency, a machinist nearing retirement, Scott Higgins, was killed by the blaze while two other workers were treated in hospital. All three workers are reported to have been perofrming routine maintenance on the plant's 75,000 barrel-per-day Ultraformer 3 (UU-3) when a nearby pump seal failed and caused a fire to break out.

Marathon’s Galveston Bay is one of the largest refining complexes in the US with a crude oil refining capacity of 593,000 barrels per calendar day. The UU-3 is the biggest reformer at the site.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said it has started an investigation with both state and federal environmental agencies also launching their own investigations.

As well as occurring just days after the 4 May gas leak at Marathon’s Wilmington refinery in California, the fire at Galveston Bay is the second fatal incident to have happened at the site in 2023 after a contractor died in March from an electric shock.

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