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Power outage causes ‘heavy flaring’ at Torrance ExxonMobil refinery

Torrance firefighters responded to “heavy flaring” at an ExxonMobil refinery that officials said was prompted by a brief power outage Thursday morning.

Crews arrived at the refinery about 9:20 a.m. after a mylar balloon hit equipment at a nearby California Edison substation and caused a “momentary but widespread” outage, Torrance Fire Capt. Steve Deuel said.

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No injuries were reported, but some contractors working at the facility were relocated to a nearby park as a precaution, Deuel said.

Torrance police said no leaks had been discovered and the air was tested and deemed “clean and safe.”

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There were some odor complaints, Deuel said, “but they dissipated with the wind.”

In a statement, refinery officials confirmed a power outage caused the “unplanned flaring” and apologized “for any inconvenience that this incident may have caused.”

“The refinery is working to normalize operations,” the statement said. Deuel said that process could take between 12 and 24 hours.

Del Amo Boulevard remains closed in the area until burnoff operations end, police said.

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According to its website, the 750-acre facility produces 1.8 billion gallons of gasoline per year, using crude oil primarily from the San Joaquin Valley. Built in 1929, it now produces nearly 10% of the gasoline refined in California.

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Twitter: @katemather | Google+
kate.mather@latimes.com


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