Ohio EPA: No contamination detected after refinery explosion

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LIMA, Ohio (AP) — No dangerous contaminants were released into the air by an explosion at an oil refinery that was felt 10 miles away and sparked a fire that burned for more than 14 hours, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said Sunday.

Testing was done by the U.S. EPA, Allen County and Husky Energy for a variety of contaminants, including benzene, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen sulfide and asbestos, Ohio EPA spokeswoman Heidi Griesmer said.

The results were all "non-detect," meaning no signs of the contaminants, Griesmer said.

The company, overseen by the Ohio EPA, will continue the contaminant monitoring this week, Griesmer said.

Damage assessment from the explosion continues, Husky Energy spokesman Mel Duvall said in an email.

The explosion at 6 a.m. Saturday triggered a fire that sent black smoke billowing into the air above the refinery. No one had to be evacuated, but nearby streets were closed for about seven hours and approximately 20 homeowners reported the explosion broke their windows.

The fire was put out at 8:25 p.m. Saturday, Griesmer said.

The explosion happened in a processing unit where crude oil is heated to begin the process of breaking it down into other products. The refinery anchors an industrial area in Lima, which is about 80 miles northwest of Columbus.