HAZMAT – North-America – USA

EDIS Number: HZ-20120413-34887-USA
Date / time: 13/04/2012 06:57:52 [UTC]
Area: North-America
Country: USA
State/County: State of Texas
Location: El Paso [Western Refining Pipeline]
Number of Deads: N/A
Number of Injured: N/A
Number of Infected: N/A
Number of Missing: N/A
Number of Affected: N/A
Number of Evacuated: N/A
Damage level: Moderate


An estimated 105 lbs. of a poisonous chemical called benzene leaked from a cooling tower at Western Refining on Tuesday. Breathing a high dosage of benzene can cause short-term problems such as drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, tremors, confusion, and unconsciousness. It can also cause long-term effects such aslow blood cell counts and cancer. Gary Hanson is the vice president of corporate communications for Western Refining. "It really wasn't in the air," Hanson said. "There's a number of safety and environmental procedures that are in place, and all of those were followed to ensure the safety of our employees and the community. The unit was safely shut down; the leak was contained." Efron Torres has lived down the street from Western Refining for about 50 years. He's complained of bad odors at times, but he didn't know about this chemical leak because no one from Western Refining told him. He said that he'd rather not think about what could've been in the air on Tuesday. "It would probably make a person worried if you think about it too much," Torres said. "So we try not to worry too much about it. At our age, we can't buy another home so we're just stuck here." The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency both said that this event was not considered an emergency.

Syndicated from RSOE EDIS - Emergency and Disaster Information