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Four workers remain in critical condition after Exxon fire

7 years 1 week 2 days ago Wednesday, November 23 2016 Nov 23, 2016 November 23, 2016 4:47 PM November 23, 2016 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- Four workers burned during a fire at Exxon refinery Tuesday remain in critical condition at the Baton Rouge General Burn Unit.

Exxon is mum on what caused the fire.

A watchdog group over the petro chemical industry is blasting Exxon tonight. That group is making bold claims saying Exxon isn't saying much because it doesn't want the public to really know what happened yesterday.

Raford Varnado was inside his home when his house shook.

"I heard a big loud boom and it rattled the house," Varnado said. "We decided to go out, and when we went out we heard a lot of ambulances coming in to go there."

Getting those ambulances to area hospitals was a challenge for EMS. Paramedics had to use back roads to navigate through the rush hour and holiday traffic.

"We do rely on dispatchers a good bit to give us info on road closures, construction or just heavy traffic flow at different times of the day we rely on them to relay that info to crews on the street," Nick McDonner said.

Tonight, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade is raising questions over the most recent fire. The organization says accidents are not uncommon at the Exxon refinery. Over a ten year period, the group logged 890 accidents, about one per week.

We requested an interview from Exxon today. A spokeswoman said there would be no interviews, but did say their thoughts and prayers are with those affected.

"My heart goes out to Glenda and her family," A longtime retired Exxon employee said. "I knew Glenda since she got hired in. I pray for her and a quick recovery for her. She was a good friend and a good worker."

This longtime Exxon employee did not want to be identified, but is rallying behind those who were injured. She said workers there go through extensive safety training, but even that training can't get you ready for some accidents.

"The things that are in the pipes to allow us to have the life that we have, drive cars, and have plastics and things like that... some when they hit the atmosphere can flame," the employee said. "You can prepare for just about anything but sometimes the uncalled for happens."

We're told the fire yesterday involved Isobutane.

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