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Refinery blast kills 14

An oil refinery explosion in Texas City on Wednesday killed at least 14 people and injured more than 100 others.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | March 24, 2005

An oil refinery explosion in Texas City, Texas, on Wednesday killed at least 14 people and injured more than 100 others.

The blast occurred at 2:20 p.m., on the 1,200-acre British Petroleum (BP) Refinery south of Houston. Rescue workers searched through Wednesday night for survivors, and recovery efforts continued to be focused on survivors, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency regional reports. Some of the refineryís 1,800 workers were unaccounted for on Thursday morning. Fire from the explosion has been contained, and there were no reports of chemical release.

The Salvation Army sent two canteens to Texas City to offer food and drinks to relief workers.

The cause of the explosion was unknown but federal investigators said they believed it was an accident. Terrorism was not a primary focus of their concern, said investigators.

The refinery was fined about $110,000 after two employees died in an accident in September, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports. About a year ago, OSHA fined the plant about $63,000 for safety violations.

Texas City is home to some 40,000 people. The BP refinery is the third largest in the country. Daily production is 460,000 barrels of crude oil, which provides three percent of the nationís gasoline and is 30 percent of BPís daily total.

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