STATE : Fire Hits Bakersfield Refinery

From Times Wire Services

A blaze at an oil refinery sent sheets of flame into the sky, forcing plant workers to flee and officials to shut down a nearby highway for nearly three hours today.

No injuries were reported in the fire that erupted Wednesday night at the San Joaquin Refining Co., said Carl Nicita, a dispatcher for the Kern County Fire Department.

Ten workers were evacuated after the fire erupted in a refinery tower at 11:15 p.m., Nicita said. About 100 firefighters extinguished the blaze by 2:30 a.m.

California 99, which runs adjacent to the refinery, was closed until just after 2 a.m. as a precaution, said California Highway Patrol dispatcher Lolly Craig.

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