Magellan Midstream Tank Explosion Injures 7 in Corpus Christi

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Seven Magellan Midstream Partners employees were injured, four critically, when a storage tank at a Magellan plant in Corpus Christi exploded after catching fire Saturday morning, according to deputy Fire Chief Richie Quintero.

(photo: Magellan Midstream Partners)

The fire began about 10 a.m. near a crude oil storage tank that was being cleaned and inspected, said Magellan spokesman Bruce Heine.

"The tank was being cleaned by contractors at the time of the incident," Heine said. "The fire has been extinguished at this time."

During a televised news conference on Saturday afternoon, Corpus Christi Deputy Fire Chief Richie Quintero said seven workers were injured in the fire. Four of the injured were in critical condition and one person was taken for treatment to a burn center in San Antonio, Texas.

A shelter in place order that was issued after the blast was lifted shortly before noon, and there were no other injuries or property damage and no air contamination, according to Quintero.

“Air monitoring was performed throughout this entire incident of which there was zero readings of concern on any types of gas or chemicals" at the site, Quintero said.

The fire was extinguished and firefighters left the site shortly after 2 p.m.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement that the state will provide emergency assistance as needed.

“The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is monitoring air quality in the area, and the Texas Division Of Emergency Management is on the ground to provide support," Abbott wrote. “The state is ready to deploy additional resources to respond to this event and keep the community safe.”

The blast is the second incident involving a Magellan property in the area after an unmanned well about 3 miles (5 kilometers) offshore of Corpus Christi began spewing gas in September.

In August, four people were killed when a dredging vessel owned by Orion Marine Group hit a submerged propane pipeline in the Port of Corpus Christi, causing an explosion.

Port CEO Sean Strawbridge said the port was not affected by Saturday's explosion and, because plant is not on port property, the port will have no role in the investigation.

The Magellan plant has 60 oil storage tanks with a total capacity of 37 million barrels, along with a small refinery that was not affected by the blast, according to Mark Calhoun, operations manager for Magellan.

- AP and Reuters

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