2009 Explosion Caused By Uninspected Pipe

Apr 10, 2014

On Thursday, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board released findings concerning a massive explosion that occurred at Silver Eagle Refinery in Woods Cross on Nov. 4, 2009.

Members of CSB inspecting a pipe.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board released a report, Thursday indicated a 2009 explosion at the Silver Eagle Refinery was the result of a corroded pipe.
Credit csb.gov

The new report reveals that a ten-inch reactor pipe at the paraffin wax facility tore and ignited after it began spouting hydrogen, launching a fireball toward a nearby neighborhood.

The blast damaged over 100 homes, many with shattered glass. Two of the homes were severely damaged, including one which was displaced off its foundation. Four workers near the process unit at the time of the explosion were also blown to the ground, but were not seriously injured.

The board, which does not have the authority to issue violations, says the pipe was not properly inspected as it wore thin over years.

CSB chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso says the findings of the report are far too common, citing similar situations at a 2012 Bay Area Chevron refinery fire and a Tesoro refinery explosion and fire which killed seven in Washington in 2010.

The report examines the history of the ruptured pipe and concludes there is no record of the unit ever being inspected as it thinned over the years from sulfidation corrosion.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.