Residents concerned after refinery fire in Torrance

Residents living near the oil refinery in Torrance are concerned after a fire broke out at the facility.

No one was injured in the fire reported around 4:20 p.m. Tuesday in the 3700 block of 190th Street and extinguished about 25 minutes later, said Torrance Fire Department Capt. Bob Millea.

The fire occurred in the refinery's alkylation unit, which is where a form of liquid hydrofluoric acid is used in the refining process to boost the octane rating of gasoline, The Daily Breeze reported.

``There has been no off-site impact noted,'' Millea said.

Two dozen Torrance firefighters worked with refinery personnel to put out the flames.

An alert issued by the city said no hazards were detected off site.

``The line has been isolated with the goal to burn off residual product in the line,'' according to an alert, which said no flaring was required.

Some employees were evaluated at the scene but did not require hospital treatment, authorities said.

The use of hydrofluoric acid has come under scrutiny from the community since a February 2015 explosion put the plant formerly owned by ExxonMobil offline and caused gas prices to soar. That blast in the refinery's electrostatic precipitator showered the surrounding area with debris and raised health concerns among area residents.

Tuesday's fire gave rise to serious concerns.

``This is not just a fire, this is a fire at the alky unit, the one that uses hydrofluoric acid and could take out the South Bay if released. This is incredibly scary,'' the community group South Bay FLARE wrote on its Facebook page, according to The Daily Breeze.

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