Huge Exxon refinery explosion rocks southern California
The blast in Torrance, in the South Bay region of Los Angeles, injured three workers and destroyed the windows of the surrounding buildings. Authorities advised neighboring residents and businesses to take precautions.
The explosion and fire ripped through the facility at around 9 AM PST.
Mayor Patrick Furey told KNBC that residents near the refinery needed to take precautions.
"The most important thing is to shelter in place, stay indoors, no outdoor activity, turn the air conditioners off, keep the windows closed," Furey advised.
There was no evacuation of surrounding areas, but nearby schools were keeping students and staff indoors immediately after the blast as a precaution, Torrance Fire Captain Steve Deuel said.
"We just heard this loud bang. We saw the walls cave in," witness Daniel Wolfe told ABC7. "It was kind of scary. We thought it was an earthquake, but it was too quick."
"It felt like a car crash, or a car hit our house," said resident Mac McCarthy. "It was too abrupt, it didn't seem like it could have been an earthquake and then we all just ran out front and everyone was freaking out about the fire but that was just the gas burning. If you look passed the hedges, you can see some of the refineries leaning over."