Damage to the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance from an explosion is seen from 190th Street. Photo by John Schreiber.
Damage to the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance from an explosion is seen from 190th Street. Photo by John Schreiber.

A fine light dust released during an explosion and fire at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance is a catalyst used in the refinery process and while it may cause some irritation, it was not expected to be hazardous to people or animals, a company spokeswoman said Thursday.

The material was sent out for testing, which confirmed that it was “primarily composed of some metal oxides and amorphous silica,” said Gesuina Paras, ExxonMobil public and government affairs advisor.

“The material is not expected to be hazardous to people or animals under the conditions it was released,” she said. “However, it may cause irritation to the skin, eyes and throat.”

The blast, which apparently occurred in a gasoline-processing unit, was reported shortly before 9 a.m. Wednesday at the facility at 3700 W. 190th St., a Torrance fire dispatcher said. Four people were injured.

ExxonMobil has set up a claims hotline for anyone who has questions and may have been impacted by the blast and fire, she said.

That number is (844) 631-2539.

Non-impacted sections of the refinery continue to operate, Paras said.

City News Service

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