LIMA — A bright, sporadic flame coming from Husky Lima Refinery Monday night could be seen 15 miles away, causing concern for many Lima-area residents.
Shelly Bendele, who lives between Uniopolis and St. Johns, was concerned when she and her husband noticed the bright orange flare around 8:30 p.m.
“We could see from our house the whole sky was lit up, and we can never see that,” said Bendele. “We never see the refinery’s flame, and I’ve lived out here for 30 years.”
She and her husband decided to drive up to Breese Road last night to see what was going on.
“We had no clue what that was,” said Bendele. “We got to Breese Road and the flare was big. I understand that they [the Husky Lima Refinery] had to do that but, it was kind of freaky.”
Mel Duvall, Husky Energy Media and Issue Manager, said the flare was of no danger to the community.
“An issue with a unit was resulting in a larger than usual flare,” said Duvall. “We are working to safely shut down the unit so that we can resolve it. We appreciate the understanding of our neighbors.”
Shawnee Township Police Department dispatcher Sara Stemen said that the flare was planned by the refinery; therefore, no calls for service were made Tuesday night.
“They were cleaning and getting rid of chemicals,” said Stemen. “One of the employees called yesterday and said that one of the flames would be larger through the night and would be larger than before. I think they have a planned shutdown when they do this.”
Lima Fire Department Capt. Brian Stewart said that they had received calls regarding the flare, many of which thought it was a house fire.
“In the past, people from the north end of town have called and said that there’s got to be something on fire, and we would go up there, look around, talk to them, and find out that it was refinery,” said Stewart.
This was the second significant flare incident at the Husky Lima Refinery in 2018. On Jan. 7 there was a “larger than normal flare” coming from the refinery due to a unit trip, according to Duvall. The following day orange residue was found on snow along sidewalks of Fort Amanda Road.
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews.