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Superior, Wis. Evacuation lifted at 6 am, says Mayor



The evacuation order for Superior, Wis., Was lifted at 6am, the mayor of the city said on Friday morning in a Facebook post.

"There is every indication that the refinery site is safe and stable and the air quality is clean and normal," Mayor Jim Paine wrote in a Facebook post at 5:38.

"I pick up the evacuation order at 6 o'clock this morning …" he wrote. "Welcome Home."

The police department followed the mayor's announcement with a tweet just before 6:30 am saying, "Today at 6 am the evacuation order was lifted and you can return to your home." [1

96592002] A spokesman for Husky Energy said the fire was burned out, but hot spots were being monitored.

It rained slightly in Superior early Friday, which may have strengthened confidence that the fire was finally over and the danger was over.

Just before eight o'clock on Friday in an upscale neighborhood that had been evacuated, Jesse Beasley said most of his neighbors had not yet come home.

He was sitting in his pickup in a driveway and after that, children were preparing to school for a night of volunteer work on the edge of the evacuation zone.

The retired law enforcement officer said he had been traveling all night transporting food and water to the emergency officials stationed on the edge of the disaster area.

"You're just nice to go to CRI" He said his family spent the night with relatives in Duluth. "

The atrium in the government building of the Superior building was empty on Friday morning had camped late into the night, along with the podium that was ready for a series of press conferences when the fire was on. [Thursday] Thursday night, police officers said it would come to a press conference on Friday at 10 o'clock. It is unclear whether this press conference will take place.

The evacuation order was lifted, but the Upper Police Department has blocked some roads near the refinery for all except those who are investigating the fire. Friday morning, when these roads would open again.

The evacuation order was issued on Thursday, when a huge oil refinery bricks by the fire and threatened to get out of control in this Twin Ports city. It was defeated by firefighters on Thursday night, but only after damaging fumes forced a widespread forced eviction of the residents.

A huge cloud of oily, black smoke from burning asphalt spread for miles and hours after a series of explosions raced through the city Husky Energy refinery Thursday morning, sent 11 people to the hospital and leading officials to evacuate more than 70 square miles to order the facility, including three schools and a hospital. No deaths were reported.

Authorities must still investigate the cause of the initial explosion.

Kollin Schade, a spokesman for Husky Energy, said the explosion occurred in the fluidized bed cracking zone of the refinery. This is part of the refining process when crude oil is subjected to heat and pressure to extract gasoline and other light petroleum products.

The company will not speculate on the cause until after an investigation, added Schade.

After more than eight hours of fear and insecurity, the fire was crushed.

Just before 7 pm, Mayor Jim Paine gave good news to the 27,000 residents of Superior. "Breathe easily," he said. "This fire is out."

But about 2 ½ hours later, the police reported to the higher authorities that a secondary fire had started "because of the continuing heat at the scene".

It was also quelled, Paine said late Thursday, but the evacuation should persist at night with hourly revaluations.

The day of the drama started shortly after 10 o'clock, when the first ripped through the refinery in the Upper City in a series of explosions.

On Thursday afternoon, the fire burned so violently that firefighters said they could not try to delete it.

"We can not get people close enough to actually put them out." Extinguished, "said Scott Gordon, a battalion chief of the fire department.

Gordon said the danger to the firefighters was not just from the fire The afternoon went on, a crew of about 30 firefighters got "enough wat he and enough water pressure" on the fire to extinguish it, Gordon said.

Later became the secondary fire reports, but it was also quelled by firefighters, this time with the use of foam retardant. [196592002] Officials said the evacuation, which affects several thousand people, is a precaution. "Sure is better than forbearance," said Paine and called the explosion and the fire "a nightmare scenario."

Shortly after the first explosion, the officials thought the fire was under control. But after a second series of explosions and a growing plume of smoke, the authorities began to evacuate the area for miles. At 2:00 pm, Essentia Health completed St. Mary's Hospital in Superior, closed its emergency department, and brought all patients to Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical Center and Benedictine Health System, both in Duluth [19659002] Three schools included in the evacuation zone – Great Lakes Elementary, Superior Middle School, and Northern Lights Elementary – carried children to the Amsil Facility Amphitheater in 1011 Susquehanna Av., Superior Police reported.

The Duluth Transit Authority diverted buses from regular evacuation routes, and Duluth City officials opened the Duluth Entertainment Conference Center for Superior Evacuees.

In the afternoon, officials said the fire was too hot to fight, the National Weather Service said that the plume of smoke had reached Solon Springs, about 30 miles southeast of the refinery, and started like a storm cloud on radar.

The first explosion shook a nearby golf course, rattled offices in Superior's business district, and sent thick, black smoke into the sky above the refinery.

"We had a huge boom and it came through and rattled the whole clubhouse," said Allie Fuller, deputy manager at the Nemadji Golf Course about half a mile south of the refinery. She said that golfers on the course are "really scared", but nobody was hurt. After the fire started around noon, the golf course was evacuated.

Superior Sadie Johnson, who was evacuee at the Convention Center Thursday night, said she has received several voicemails and texts signaling the evacuation of schools she visits from ages 9 to 14. She said the mood was calm as she went to the Amsoil Facility site to pick her up. "It was not a turmoil," she said.

Her daughter Natalia, 12, said she was in high school when her teacher looked out the window and said, "That's great." The students flocked to the window to see for themselves. Shortly thereafter, the school was evacuated.

Taylor Pedersen, president and CEO of the Superior Chamber of Commerce of Douglas County, said he heard the first explosion from his office near the University of Wisconsin Superior, about a mile from the refinery

"There were a big boom, "he said. "We're just trying to figure out exactly what happened, and of course we're sticking to our prayers."

A four-man team from the US Chemical Safety Board went to the Superior on Thursday afternoon to investigate. The panel gives safety recommendations after serious chemical incidents.

About 180 people work at the refinery, which was closed for cleaning at the time of the first explosion. A spokeswoman for Paine said some of the injured could be employees of the cleaning company.

The refinery built in 1950 was owned for decades by Murphy Oil, who bought it in 1958. Murphy sold it to Calumet Specialty Products for $ 435 million in 2011, and Calumet sold it to Husky in Calgary last year for $ 492 million.

In 2015, when Calumet was the owner, OSHA issued four quotes to the refinery, three of them for serious infringements. They included flammable and combustible liquids as well as hazardous waste and emergency measures. Calumet was fined $ 21,000, but negotiated an agreement for $ 16,800.

The refinery is small and produces about 38,000 barrels a day. That's about 10 percent of the major Flint Hills refinery in Rosemount and less than 40 percent of production at the Andeawor refinery in St. Paul Park.

The Superior refinery mainly produces gasoline, diesel fuel, engine oils and asphalt for local markets, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

• Writer Mike Hughlett contributed to this report.

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