2 killed in blast at Belgian refinery

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

ANTWERP, Belgium (AP) — An explosion tore through an oil refinery in Belgium's busiest port Tuesday, killing two people and partially closing down operations, company officials said.

The identity of victims was not immediately released, but local media accounts said they were contract workers. The Gazet van Antwerpen newspaper said they had been called to the Total refinery to fix a steam turbine leak.

After the blast, the refinery was evacuated and partially shut down, said Hilde Luystermans, director of Total Belgium. Total officials declined to comment on the explosion's possible cause, but said there was no risk to the environment or the refinery's neighbors.

Belgian media said the refinery in northern Antwerp can produce more than 17 million tons of gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene yearly, and is Europe's third largest.