Moral Low Ground

Economy

Explosion, Fire at Marathon Detroit Tar Sands Refinery

(Photo: Midwest News screen grab)

(Photo: Midwest News screen grab)

A massive explosion has been reported at a tar sands oil refinery in Detroit, Michigan on Saturday afternoon, prompting a mandatory evacuation order for parts of a nearby city.

CBS Detroit reports that the blast occurred at the Marathon Detroit Refinery on South Fort Street. A thick cloud of black smoke rose into the clear afternoon sky and was visible for miles around

An evacuation order is in effect for parts of the neighboring suburb of Melvindale.

It is not currently known what caused the explosion or if anyone was hurt in the blast or resulting fire. Detroit Senior Fire Chief Carl Smith is at the site of the incident and is expected to release details when they become available.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the fire is located in one of the refinery’s smaller tanks.

Each day, the Marathon Detroit Refinery processes more than 100,000 barrels of heavy crude oil from Canadian tar sands. In June 2010, the Free Press reported that the refinery is located in Michigan’s most heavily polluted zip code.

This is a breaking story. Moral Low Ground will publish updates as more information becomes available.

UPDATE 8:37 PM: Melvindale police have issued the ‘all clear’ signal to residents, allowing them to return to their homes, CBS Detroit reports. A spokesman for Marathon Petroleum also told reporters that no injuries resulted from the incident.

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