‘Shelter in Place’ Sirens Rattle Nerves Near Torrance ExxonMobil Refinery

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A problem at the ExxonMobile refinery in Torrance on Friday night triggered warning sirens urging residents to shelter in place.

Police and fire crews responded to the plant around 6:10 p.m. after the refinery experienced a leak on an 8 inch pipeline in the crude unit, according to a statement from the city of Torrance. The leak resulted in a large column of smoke leaving the refinery, according to the statement.

"Those in proximity to the refinery, and particularly east of, are asked to shelter in place as a precaution," according to a post on the Torrance Police Department's Facebook page.

Exxon later released a statement indicating the refinery experienced an "upset in one of its units that caused a release primarily composed of steam."

"In an abundance of caution, the Refinery activated the Crenshaw Boulevard Barriers and the Torrance Fire Department sounded the Community Warning Sirens to alert the public to shelter in place," Exxon spokesman Todd Spitler stated.

The shelter in place order was later rescinded.

"Air monitoring has been conducted in the community and there is no danger to public health," according to Spitler. "We apologize for any inconvenience that this incident may have caused."