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Explosion rocks Marathon refinery; no one hurt, cause unknown

DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) – A Marathon Petroleum spokesman says no one was hurt after a fire at a refinery in Detroit Saturday. Fox 2 has learned the fire started in one of the smaller tanks; the fire is out and the cause is being investigated.

No employees or contractors were injured. Thick, black smoke could be seen for miles. We saw crews out in the neighborhoods in Melvindale monitoring air quality. We’re told the area is safe. Earlier, some residents were ordered to evacuate. Then Melvindale police gave the “all clear.”

We could see damage to the storage tank involved. The force of the blast blew the top right off. Foam was sprayed on the tank where we’re told diesel fuel was burning. Marathon had no comment about how this might effect gas prices. Community leaders want answers: what happened, why, and what’s being done to prevent another explosion?


Smell lingers after Marathon refinery explosion in Detroit

MELVINDALE, Mich. (WJBK) – An investigation is underway into Saturday’s explosion and fire at the Marathon refinery in Detroit. On Sunday, crews were re-testing air quality and residents reported a strong “rotten egg” smell following the incident.

The explosion rocked the area around southwest Detroit and downriver just after 6pm Saturday. A storage tanker fixed to the ground blew its top. Detroit fire responded to assist Marathon’s own on-scene fire brigade. A Detroit fire department source says they were told to prepare to find hydrogen sulfide, benzene and diesel fuel burning at the scene. But, Marathon spokesman Shane Pochard tells Fox 2 the actual product was sour water used in the treatment of converting crude oil. The sour water tanks contain some levels and traces of petrochemicals.

Marathon says the rain that hit the sour water tank Sunday sent the rotten egg smell all over the surrounding area. Fox 2 saw air quality testing meters being used in various areas including neighborhoods in Melvindale. Marathon says they will continue to monitor air quality and they’ve launched an investigation to determine the cause of the blast.


Evacuations ended in Marathon refinery fire

Residents were able to return to their homes Saturday evening after a fire broke out at the Marathon Detroit Refinery in southwest Detroit.

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