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Four workers burned by Sinclair oil refinery fire in Wyoming

Four workers burned by Sinclair oil refinery fire in Wyoming

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A fire at the Sinclair Oil Corp. refinery near Rawlins injured four workers Tuesday, sending three to a Colorado burn center.

The fire ignited about 10:20 a.m. in the refinery’s gas recovery unit, a Sinclair official said.

Sinclair Police Chief Jeff Sanders told The Associated Press it was a flash fire and four workers were originally taken to Memorial Hospital of Carbon County.

A Memorial Hospital spokeswoman told The Associated Press three of the workers were flown to a burn center in Greeley, Colo., while the fourth was treated and released.

No details on the injuries or the identities of the hospitalized workers were immediately available.

Two Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors were dispatched to the site Tuesday, said Wyoming Department of Workforce Services spokeswoman Hayley Douglass.

“It’s all under investigation at this moment,” she said. “There are no firm details as to what actually happened.”

The refinery wasn’t damaged, according to a company media release. A Sinclair representative wouldn’t further describe what the company called an “incident” in its release.

The fire is the latest of the refinery’s problems.

The refinery evacuated its workers in January 2011 because of a fire in a device that snags and collects dust, but nobody was injured.

Fires on two consecutive days in September plagued the refinery’s oil processing unit, but once again, nobody was harmed.

In June, Sinclair Wyoming Refinery Corp. agreed to a $5.4 million settlement with state environmental regulators over a 2010 oil release into wastewater ponds that killed dozens of birds.

The refinery has been charged with numerous violations and paid a total of $7 million in penalties to Wyoming regulators in recent years over releases of pollution into the sewers and dangerous gas into the air, among other issues.

The Sinclair refinery processes about 80,000 barrels of crude oil a day, including oil from the Canadian tar sands, into gasoline and diesel. The refinery was founded in 1923.

Reach Jeremy Fugleberg at 307-266-0623 or jeremy.fugleberg@trib.com. Read his blog at http://trib.com/news/opinion/blogs/boom/ and follow him on Twitter: @jerenergy.

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