Social media ‘booms’ after explosion

First Posted: 1/10/2015

LIMA — The explosion heard around the region.

When an isocracker at Husky Lima Refinery exploded Saturday, it was a moment of chaos for some residents. House and business alarms went off, bookshelves and beds shook, windows rattled and some even broke.

Photos and videos of the flames and smoke were quickly shared via social media.

Rumors of a terrorist attack spread shortly after the explosion, Russ Decker said, director of the Allen County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

After Decker got off the phone with the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, those rumors were able to dissipate.

Many social media users said the boom felt like a plane was landing in their backyard, a meteor hit or there was an earthquake. When some found out the truth of the noise they felt, they were just as surprised.

Sgt. Andy Green with the Lima Police Department said someone was walking door-to-door in the area near the refinery and telling residents they were to evacuate the area. Green said that individual was not identified as of Saturday evening, but it wasn’t anyone from the LPD, as they were never instructed to give that order.

Green said the communications the LPD had released to the public always said residents were safe in their homes.

It could have been a legitimately concerned neighbor, or someone who wanted to burglarize vacant homes — no one knows.

A few rumors of an explosion at 2 a.m. streamed The Lima News’ Facebook page, however a first explosion could not be confirmed by officials.

Theories as to why this happened arose on The Lima News’ official website. Thomas Davenport commented on the story, “Its the fault of humans trying process combustible materils under extreme weather conditions utilizing high heat and pressure… is a recipe for disaster. Its happened before and will happen again regardless who the mayor of lima is.”

When the explosion took place, multiple businesses and residents called the LPD to report their security systems activating from the vibration. Green said each report had to be addressed, in case there was an active burglary taking place, almost the perfect opportunity.

The vibrations also caused residential windows to shake, rattle and shatter, Green said, adding Husky will work with homeowners to repair any broken windows related to the incident. Those impacted are to call Husky’s local number, 419-226-2300.

According to Amanda Fouse, who commented on the Lima News’ post about the explosion, the explosion was felt in Uniopolis, St. Johns and Wapakoneta. Elaine Fuerst Abram, also a Facebook user, said she heard a “boom” noise in Delphos.

When a Facebook user with the name ‘Orgone Pheonix’ asked, “what did they refine at this plant?” User George Smed said Husky “just completed additions and renovations because almost 50% of their crude is now tar sands from Canada. Hence Husky Oil is based out of Canada.”

“They are bringing it in by train. No need for the pipeline everyone is whining about. Tar Sands has been in town for a few years now. New smells around town too. This stuff is the worst to refine,” he said.