Residents Return Home Following Refinery Explosion, Fire

Husky Energy is responding to a fire at its Superior Refinery located in Superior, Wisconsin. The person was listed in good condition.

Mayor Jim Paine lifted the mandatory evacuation order early this morning because officials are now confident there's no further danger to the public. The weather service said winds were expected to weaken Thursday evening and eventually shift toward Lake Superior.

More than 27,000 people evacuated from the area surrounding the refinery.

"All indications are that the refinery site is safe and stable and the air quality is clean and normal", Superior Mayor Jim Paine wrote in a 5:38 a.m.

Husky Energy states all workers have been accounted for and that local air quality is being monitored.

Paine acknowledged Friday that the fire had the potential to be "absolutely catastrophic", but he said the evacuation zone was large enough to contain any release of the chemical, and that the city had adequate medical transport and supplies to treat exposures.

The city of Superior is now in the aftermath of Thursday's explosion at the Husky Energy Refinery. "There were very low, trace levels, well below any health standards, of volatile chemicals and dust and particulates", Morrison said.

Specialists from Williams Fire & Hazard Control of Port Arthur, Texas were hired by Husky Energy and were flying to the scene on Thursday to direct efforts to battle the blaze.

"I can see black billowing smoke, and it's lingering in the sky", said Bunny Vidotto, who lives in Superior, WI and is originally from Thunder Bay, Ont., in an interview with CBC News on Thursday.

"That's when we were going to release all the information about our full plan to deal with the hydrogen fluoride, which we were formulating all day and preparing for all day", Paine said. "We needed that process to happen as smoothly as possible while we prepared for any eventuality at all".

"So while we were trying to be transparent, we were trying to truly protect the public as well".

Panger says local authorities are working with federal agencies to determine the cause of the explosion and how to make improvements.

Alberta-based Husky Energy bought the refinery from Calumet Specialty Products Partners a year ago for over $490 million.

Firefighters tried to prevent flames from spreading by spraying water on nearby tanks, manager Kollin Schade said at a briefing.

  • Joey Payne