Refinery fire is out, gas may rise


First Posted: 1/11/2015

LIMA — The fire at Husky’s Lima Refinery was extinguished at about 10 p.m. Saturday night.

The refinery is in a “cool down” mode, said Russ Decker, director of the Allen County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The next steps for the refinery are to investigate the cause of the fire and assess damage from the explosion.

Decker said a total of 16 agencies and departments responded to the incident in support of Husky’s on-site response team An additional five local fire departments lended aid so Husky workers could work internally.

A total of 73 air monitorings have been conducted as of Sunday morning since the explosion from Husky, the Allen County HAZMAT team and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Samples were also taken from ash from the fire and tested for asbestos. Lab results came back as “no asbestos detected,” Decker said.

Officials with the Ohio EPA or U.S. EPA could not be reached for comment.

Decker’s office and Shawnee Fire Department shut down their role in the fire as of noon Sunday.

Now that the flames and the majority of the smoke has cleared, residents may be paying for the explosion at the pump.

Though it isn’t a guarantee, as oil markets are closed for trading on the weekends, as far north as the Great Lakes and as far west as Illinois could see the ripple effect of the boom.

Senior Petroleum Analyst at GasBuddy.com, Patrick DeHaan, said because the refinery hasn’t discovered what exactly happened with the unit and what exactly was effected, it’s difficult to say by how much gas prices will rise.

Motorists shouldn’t expect an immediate price hike Monday, DeHaan said, as it will likely take all day Monday for the market to adjust to the explosion.

The explosion likely sent one of it’s units offline, as refineries are broken up into units, however it doesn’t necessarily mean production of a certain fuel has been jeopardized, DeHaan said.

It is unclear where Husky stands in terms of production Sunday night. Mel Duvall said information at the Lima Refinery is still under investigation.

In terms of gas prices, January may have been a good time for something like this to happen, DeHann said, as spot-prices for gasoline has been the lowest in the country near the Great Lakes in Ohio.

The Lima Refinery is generally small in size, DeHaan said, giving leverage to a smaller price hike for gas prices.

“I wouldn’t necessarily paint a doom-and-gloom picture,” DeHaan said. “This is not a time of year when gasoline demand is soaring. If this took place in April, there would perhaps be a noticeable impact.”

“A fire of this magnitude will likely be something that would be felt regionwide,” DeHaan said of gas prices.

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