Alon USA Refinery Explosion Injures 1, Causes Evacuations

The Alon USA refinery explosion near Big Spring, Texas this morning injured one worker and resulted in the evacuation of people living within one mile of the Alon USA refinery.  All workers of the Alon USA refinery have been accounted for, and the fire from the Alon USA refinery explosion is reportedly under control.

There is no word yet on what set off the Alon USA refinery explosion.  The Alon USA refinery is located just outside of Big Spring, a town with a population of about 25,000, and about 250 miles from Fort Worth.  The Alon USA refinery employs about 170 people and processes about 70,000 barrels of oil each day.  The Alon USA refinery supplies an area including West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, southern Oklahoma and Arkansas with fuel products and asphalt, the company’s Web site says.

The Alon USA refinery explosion occurred at 8:00 a.m., and witnesses reported hearing a large blast followed by a billowing plume of smoke and flame.  According to media reports, the impact from the Alon USA refinery explosion was felt 60 miles away. The worker injured by the Alon USA refinery explosion was transported to a Lubbock hospital, according to Midland television station KWES, but the condition of the worker is not known.

The Alon USA refinery sets adjacent to East Interstate 20, a portion of which was shut down shortly after the Alon USA refinery explosion.  Two elementary schools were evacuated as a result of the Alon USA refinery explosion, then classes were canceled at all nine campuses in the Big Spring school district. A district spokesperson told the Associated Press that the cancelations were necessary because bus routes were affected by road closures and that emergency officials were warning of the potential for more explosions from the Alon USA refinery. School officials were asking parents to come pick up their children as soon as possible.  That same school district official told the Associated Press that the explosion forced open the doors of the school district’s administration building about four miles from the plant.

Howard College, located near the Alnon USA refinery was also evacuated, and residents living within one mile of the plant where also asked to leave their homes.

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