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CSB investigators will return to the Silver Eagle refinery in Woods Cross, Utah, to search for the causes of the 12 January fire, which seriously burned four workers.

On that evening, a large vapour cloud was released from a petroleum storage tank known as Tank 105.

The cloud was ignited by an as yet undetermined ignition source, causing a massive flash fire.

The storage tank continued to burn until the following morning when the South Davis Metro Fire Agency and local refinery fire brigades extinguished the flames.

Two refinery operators and two contractors standing in a shed 230-238 feet from the tank were engulfed by the flame front and suffered serious burns.

All four are now recovering.

Tank 105 is an atmospheric storage tank and was almost full on the night of the accident, containing approximately 440,000 gallons of light naphtha.

The tank is equipped with an interior floating roof and has seven atmospheric vents on the top sides of the exterior roof.

Don Holmstrom, investigations supervisor at CSB, said: ‘The CSB team will be examining a reported history of releases from the tank and the integrity of the tank seal.

‘We will also be looking at the operation of the refinery and any recent process changes to determine why highly volatile hydrocarbons were released on 12 January.’ Tank 105 was receiving up to three different streams of hydrocarbon liquids from the refinery, including light or low-boiling substances at the time of the incident.

CSB investigators have been present at the refinery for the past two weeks, conducting approximately 30 witness interviews, gathering samples and evidence and examining the accident scene.

The staff and management of the refinery have cooperated with the investigation and the CSB team has also contacted investigators from Utah OSHA and the South Davis Metro Fire Agency.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents.

Its investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards and safety management systems.

US Chemical Safety Board

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