The Carson Marathon Petroleum refinery burst into flames late Tuesday night. The fire was caused after a massive explosion and shut down the 405 freeway in both directions. Reports indicate that the flames reached 100 feet into the air. Carson is located approximately 20 miles outside of downtown Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department revealed that the explosion originated in a cooling tower and that crews from Marathon were working to prevent the blaze from spreading. The Fire Department was assisting Marathon crews in keeping the fire contained as the refinery’s systems were depressurized.
What Witnesses Saw During the Carson Refinery Fire
Daniya Ahmed lives near the refinery and heard a loud explosion that shook her home. According to the Los Angeles Times, she expressed how much the situation startled her. “I got really confused and honestly frightened. My heart was racing.”
Ahmed reports hearing a second explosion. She didn’t find out what was happening just 1.5 miles from her home until she read reports on social media. When she went outside, she described a smell that “...wasn’t smoke. It smelled like a chemical. It was the type of smell that sits in the back of your throat."
Since it has numerous refineries, Southern California is no stranger to fires at facilities. Last year, two fires broke out at the Carson Phillips 66 refinery. One of the fires was large enough to cause a partial shutdown of the refinery, causing local gas prices to increase.
About the Carson Marathon Refinery
As the largest refinery on the West Coast, the Marathon Refinery has a crude oil capacity of 363,000 barrels per day. Marathon is the largest refinery operator in the United States, with operations in 16 refineries throughout the nation. No injuries caused by the incident have been reported. Officials are in the process of investigating the cause of the accident.