TX: Blast hits Ultramar refinery

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Blast hits Ultramar unit

Explosion and fire at Texas refinery force plant to evacuated, shut down July 9, 2001: 3:38 p.m. ET

THREE RIVERS, Texas (Reuters) - An explosion at Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp.'s 95,000 barrel-per-day Three Rivers refinery in South Texas forced the plant's total evacuation and shutdown Monday, the company said.

"We had to evacuate the entire plant and we are working with local fire and police right now," Ultramar (UDS: down $0.39 to $48.16, Research, Estimates) spokeswoman Diane Mitchell said.

Preliminary information indicates the explosion occurred early Monday afternoon in the alkylation unit, Mitchell said.

"The fire is still not under control," a spokesman for the Three Rivers Police Department said. "We've had some injuries, but don't know to what extent yet."

At least one person was airlifted from the refinery with burns, the spokesman said.

Refineries have been running at full capacity this year to keep up with soaring demand for gasoline.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), July 09, 2001

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