Fire at Superior refinery extinguished, residents will be allowed home soon

The number of injured has risen to at least 11.
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UPDATE 8 P.M.

Fire officials say that as of 6:42 p.m. the blaze at the refinery has been extinguished.

Residents in the evacuation area are being asked to remain away from their homes until at least 9 p.m.

UPDATE: 3:50 P.M.

Essentia Health has closed all of its Superior facilities for today, citing "an abundance of caution following the Husky Refinery incident."

Patients at St. Mary's Hospital in Superior were evacuated earlier this afternoon, with patients being transferred to Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth.

The Superior hospital was earlier treating 5 of the refinery workers injured in the incident.

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UPDATE 2:50 P.M.

The evacuation area has been expanded and now includes everyone within three miles in any direction of the refinery, as well as 10 miles to the south.

The Douglas County Emergency Management says it's also providing buses for evacuees, with mustering areas at 1101 Susquehanna Ave. and 1316 N. 14th St.

The smoke plume can be seen on weather radars blowing to the south, hence the evacuation of those living to the south of the refinery.

UPDATE 1:10 P.M.

AN EVACUATION ORDER HAS BEEN ISSUED.

Douglas County Emergency Management has issued an evacuation order for residents living within two miles to the north, three miles to the east and west, and 10 miles to the south of the Superior refinery. 

All Superior Area Schools are being evacuated as well, with students taken to the Amsoil at 1101 Susquehanna Avenue where parents can pick them up at any time.

Essentia Health says at least 11 people are injured, 5 of whom are at St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, 5 are at St. Mary's Hospital in Superior, and another at St. Luke's Hospital, Duluth.

The patients in St. Mary's, Duluth, are said to be awake and alert.

UPDATE 12:45 P.M.

Superior Police say that the fire initially thought extinguished at the Husky Energy Refinery has reignited, and the Duluth News Tribune reports that there were seven or eight additional explosions at 12:40 p.m. 

There is still no need for an evacuation, they say, but are urging residents to continue to stay away from the Hill and Stinson area.

KBJR reporter Emma Rechenberg says explosions continue to be heard from the scene.

UPDATE 11:40 A.M.

Superior fire officials say that six people have been injured in the Husky refinery explosion.

After initially suggesting there were 20 casualties, Fire Chief Steve Pranger has revised that number down, saying half a dozen people have been taken to the hospital.

The Superior Police Department released a statement on Facebook: 

"The scene refinery explosion scene to be managed by rescue personnel. There is no immediate/ongoing or expected further threat to refinery employees or the community at this time. There is no need to evacuate or take any other protective actions at this time. Again, this is an ongoing incident. Please stay away from the area. Updates will continue to follow as this incident unfolds."

Original story, 11 a.m.

Emergency services are battling a fire after an explosion at an oil refinery in Superior, Wisconsin, near the Minnesota border.

Explosions have been reported at the Husky Energy Superior Refinery at the southeast end of the city, authorities say.

The Superior Fire Department initially suggested as many as 20 people were injured in the incident at the factory, though subsequent figures suggest 6 people have been injured.

Husky Energy says as of 11:20 a.m. it's aware that one worker at the refinery, which employs 180, has been taken to a hospital.

Emergency responders are being drafted in from other cities to help with the casualties, including those in Minnesota.

Husky Oil Refinery

The Husky Energy refinery was formerly owned by Calumet.

Superior police is warning people not to enter this area, although notes that no evacuation orders have yet been issued.

In a statement sent to BMTN, Husky Energy said: "We are responding to an incident that has taken place at the Superior Refinery in Wisconsin. Emergency crews are on site.

"We are aware an individual has been transported to hospital. We will provide more information as it becomes available.

"Husky’s priority is ensuring the safety of personnel and responding to the situation."

Smoke seen miles around

The fire was reported around 10 a.m., and smoke can be seen coming from the building from miles around, including from downtown Duluth.

Superior High School posted on its Facebook page that it is monitoring developments but was advised there was "no reason for concern or to evacuate."

Those living nearby have been saying the explosion shook their homes.

Husky Energy bought the refinery in November from previous owners Calumet.

It can process up to 50,000 barrels of oil products per day, which is used to supply the Northland with gasoline, asphalt and other petroleum products.

CBS 3 Duluth is following the fire live on Facebook, which you can find here.

This story will be updated as more information is made available.

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