Crews battle fire at BP's Cherry Point, Wash., refinery

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 17, 2012 7:08 PM
Crews battle fire at BP's Cherry Point, Wash., refinery

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Fire crews are battling a blaze at the largest refinery in Washington state on Friday afternoon as flames engulf a tower at BP Plc's Cherry Point facility in Ferndale, according to the company and local media.

The fire appeared to be contained but large flames were still visible and a plume of heavy black smoke could be seen for several miles, according to images from CBS affiliate KIRO 7.

"The fire is reportedly in a tower on the south side of the refinery," the Bellingham Herald newspaper said on its website.

BP spokesman Scott Dean said it was too early to tell where the fire was in the refinery, which is located 100 miles north of Seattle. The fire started about 2:30 p.m. local time (2230 GMT), media reported.

"There are no reports of injuries," he said. "That's the good news."

Emergency services at the scene of the fire say they are aware of no injured people requiring treatment, said Amy Cloud, public information officer at St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, 16 miles from Cherry Point.

The refinery has its own fire crews but mutual aid had been requested from Whatcom County Fire District 7 in Ferndale and other agencies, the website noted.

Cherry Point can refine 225,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Additional reporting by Soma Das in Bangalore and Erwin Seba in Houston; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)