Fire at Total oil refinery in Britain, one worker missing
A fire broke out at Britain's third largest oil refinery Tuesday, causing an explosion and leaving one oil worker missing, the company that owns the site and emergency services said.
Police said two people were treated for minor injuries from the blaze at the Lindsey Oil Refinery near Hull in northeast England, which more than 50 firefighters tackled before it was contained.
Rescuers were also searching for a missing man, said French oil giant Total, which owns the refinery.
People living nearby reported hearing the explosion across a wide area and black smoke could be seen five miles (eight kilometres) away in Hull.
The fire service said the blaze involved crude oil.
"Total Lindsey Oil Refinery... confirms that a fire occurred at 11:57 am (1057 GMT) today, shortly followed by a small explosion," a company spokeswoman said.
"The refinery emergency plan has been put into operation. The county emergency services are at the scene assisting the refinery's emergency response team."
The company added later in a statement: "The roll call is complete and one person, known to be working in the immediate area, is currently unaccounted for." Emergency services were continuing to search the area, said Total.
A union leader said the fire started in an oil heater and added the blast raised questions about Total's safety record.
"The fire started in a heater where the oil is heated to a colossal temperature," said Pail Whitehurst, of the GMB union, adding: "This brings into question Total's safety record yet again. They have to be held accountable."
The refinery, which started production in 1968, has a processing capacity of more than 200,000 barrels per day.
© 2010 AFP