Blast hits Southern California refinery

The ExxonMobil refinery is seen after an explosion in a gasoline processing unit at the facility, in Torrance, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. Two workers suffered minor injuries and a small fire at the unit was quickly put out. The incident triggered a safety flare to burn off flammable substances. The facility about 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles covers 750 acres, employs over a thousand people, and processes an average of 155,000 barrels of crude oil per day, according to the company. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
The ExxonMobil refinery is seen after an explosion in a gasoline processing unit at the facility, in Torrance, Calif., on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. Two workers suffered minor injuries and a small fire at the unit was quickly put out. The incident triggered a safety flare to burn off flammable substances. The facility about 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles covers 750 acres, employs over a thousand people, and processes an average of 155,000 barrels of crude oil per day, according to the company. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) – An explosion at an Exxon Mobil refinery in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance triggered a huge smokestack flare, raining down ash and leaving two with minor injuries.

A Fire Department spokesman told KCBS-TV that the Wednesday morning blast most likely involved gasoline.

Residents within a mile or two reported feeling a sharp jolt that they initially thought was an earthquake.

TV news helicopters showed a structure several stories tall with damage and spewing smoke. Crews were pouring water on it more than two hours after the blast.

The facility’s flare system was triggered to burn off fuel that could add to the fire.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory for areas surrounding the refinery. Students at 13 nearby schools were being kept indoors.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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