Three Refineries Lose Power Monday

By JUAN A. LOZANO
|  Tuesday, Apr 26, 2011  |  Updated 9:02 AM CDT
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Three Refineries Lose Power Monday

AP

Oil refineries in Texas City.

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Three refineries, including a BP unit where a 2005 explosion killed 15 people, and a Dow Chemical plant lost electricity in outages that led to shelter-in-place emergency alerts and the cancellation of public schools Tuesday in Texas City.

The source of the power outages was still being sought, emergency officials said.

A second shelter-in-place alert, advising residents to stay indoors, was issued around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday after a Valero refinery also lost power, Texas City Homeland Security coordinator Bruce Clawson said.

A BP refinery, site of the deadly March 2005 accident that also left 170 people hurt, and the Dow Chemical plant lost power around 11 p.m. Monday. The initial shelter-in-place order took effect after those two outages, but was lifted around 3 a.m. Tuesday, Clawson said.

Around 4:40 a.m. Tuesday, electricity was lost at the Valero and Marathon Oil refineries, which activated their flare systems, the Galveston County Daily News reported.

Marathon quickly brought its power situation under control, Clawson said.

BP spokesman Michael Marr said a fire broke out at the refinery shortly after the power went out but crews were able to put it out. There were no injuries at the refinery, Marr said.

The city and BP reported no emissions of hazardous materials in the area, said George Fuller, assistant emergency management coordinator for the city.

"There was constant monitoring going on at all times and it did not reveal anything, although there's a strong smell of hydrocarbons in the air," Clawson told The Associated Press.

At the BP plant, workers were seen going into the plant around sunrise Tuesday, reporting for their shifts.

Associated Press writer Diana Heidgerd in Dallas contributed to this report.

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