At least 20 people were injured when an explosion occurred in one refinery in northern Wisconsin Thursday morning, followed by another Series of explosions at noon.

Witnesses reported that the first explosion sounded like a supersonic blast as black smoke rose over Su into the sky perior

The explosion at Wisconsin's only oil refinery – Husky Energy – took place shortly after 10am on the east side of Superior. No deaths were reported.

Chief Fire Chief Steve Panger said that several people were taken to hospitals near Duluth, Minnesota. [No19659005] At noon, a fire lit on the site when a series of seven or eight other explosions were heard, police said. More black smoke shot up and evacuation orders were issued for a three-mile area around the refinery.

A contractor who was in the building told WDIO that the explosion sounded like a "sonic boom" that happened when crews were there (19659006). The first fire had leaked at 11:20. Panger said a small tank exploded with either crude oil or asphalt.

Eleven of the injured are treated in hospitals in the region

Five were transported to Essentia Health-St. Mary's Hospital in Superior and five others are being treated in Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, a stage II trauma clinic, according to Maureen Talirico, a spokeswoman for Essentia Health.

All the patients who were taken to Duluth's trauma center were awake and alert, Talirico said. An injured worker was brought to St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth, a spokeswoman said.

Eric Matshews, a boiler maker from refinery-based CTS Inc. of Wales, said he was about 200 meters away when the explosion occurred, according to the Duluth Tribune.

It was like "a big sonic boom and rattled your brain," Mathews told the Duluth Tribune. "I ran and then the debris started to fall from the air … I stopped under a tube rack and then waited for the debris to stop falling."

Mathews said most or all of his co-entrepreneurs are on break (19659006) "The really happy part is that it happened during our break, so all of our people were in fires," Mathews said.

The explosion occurred in the middle of a five-year turnaround when the company shut down the refinery and did a full job bringing up to 1,000 construction workers to the site, said Bob Jauch, who represented the state's state senate district for 32 Years until retirement in 2014.

Jauch, who lives in Poplar, had breakfast when he heard the explosion.

"We felt it 20 miles away, it was like a big shiver in the ground, we did not do it I do not know what it was, there was a big cloud of smoke in the sky," Jauch said. it would be thunder. My daughter said, "Was that an earthquake?"

No damage estimate available.

Jauch said that officers demanded an emergency team from the 50-mile iron river, the Upper Fire Department blasted all three engine companies, and nearby Duluth sent a command vehicle.

Roads were cordoned off and staff evacuated when the senior police told people via Twitter to stay out of the neighborhoods in the 27,000-inhabitant city on the western tip of Lake Superior, no neighborhoods were evacuated.

The Labor Inspectorate has compliance officers on-site and will investigate what caused the incident and whether safety standards were met, Agency spokesman Scott Allen said

"We need to make sure the entire area is safe before OSHA or anyone else goes to the area," Allen said.

The High School District sent a message to the parents: "At this point, there is no reason to have any sc to clear out the building. We will keep all the students in the buildings. "

Built in 1950 at the refinery is a large employer in the Duluth Superior area with many people who either work there or have family and friends.

" They pay well, good services, they have a real reach in the community. They are one of the major employers, "said Jauch.

The Superior Refinery processes light and heavy crude oil from the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota and western Canada into fuel products and asphalt.

Husky Energy purchased the 50,000-barrel Pro-Tag Superior Refinery last year received approximately $ 496 million from Calumet Specialty Products Partners, which received $ 435 million from Murphy Oil in 2011. Murphy owned the refinery for more than five decades. [19659005] Three years ago, OSHA issued four quotes when the Calumet refinery was owned, and paid $ 16,000 for flammable and flammable liquids, emergency and special muck operations [19659006] Based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Husky is one of the largest oil companies Canada in terms of production and value of its asset base, has about 5,200 employees and an average daily production of approx. 320,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

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With the addition of the Superior Refinery increased Husky's total downstream capacity to approximately 395,000 barrels a day.

At the time of sale For Husky, the Superior Refinery produced a range of products including asphalt, gasoline, diesel and heavy oils. It had two asphalt terminals, two product terminals, a naval base, 3.6 million barrels of crude oil and product storage, and a fuel and asphalt marketing business.

Patrick Marley, Don Behm, Rick Romell, and Joe Taschler of the Journal Sentinel team contributed to this report.

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