Carson refinery fire did not increase toxic pollutants in the air: AQMD

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Marathon Petroleum Corporation refinery in Carson caught fire on Feb. 25, 2020. (KTLA)

Marathon Petroleum Corporation refinery in Carson caught fire on Feb. 25, 2020. (KTLA)

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The massive fire that burned at a Carson oil refinery late Tuesday night did not cause an atypical increase in toxic air pollutants, officials said Thursday.

The blaze at the Marathon Petroleum Corp. refinery near the intersection of South Main Street and East Sepulveda Boulevard sparked around 11 p.m. Tuesday after an explosion involving a piece of pressurized equipment that was being fed by an unknown type of fuel, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Smoke billowed through the air as flames burned the fuel that was continuously flowing into the equipment, officials said. The fire was out at about 5 a.m. Wednesday.

Air samples were collected near the fire and tested for gaseous air toxics such as benzene, toluene, styrene and tetrachloroethylene, South Coast Air Quality Management District said in a news release Thursday.

Two grab samples were collected early Wednesday around 1:20 a.m. and 2:14 a.m., according to AQMD.

“Overall, the results did not show any levels above what is normal in ambient air in the South Coast Air Basin,” according to the agency.

To meet AQMD requirements, the refinery has installed monitors around the facility to provide real-time data for a variety of air pollutants. The data from the monitors did not show elevated levels of toxic air pollutants, AQMD reported.

AQMD received 13 complaints regarding air quality as of 12:45 a.m. Wednesday from the neighboring community, the agency said.

Monitoring for cancer-causing fumes was underway since the blaze erupted, Carson Mayor Albert Robles said at a news conference Wednesday.

“There is nothing to be concerned about,” Robles said. “There were no toxins that were released, and all air quality monitoring indicates the air and environment are safe.”

AQMD will continue to monitor and evaluate whether any regulatory violations took place as a result of the incident, the agency said.

No injuries were reported in the blaze, officials said Wednesday.

The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.

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