REFINERY BLAST KILLS 1, INJURES 3

REFINERY BLAST KILLS 1, INJURES 3

An explosion at a Unocal oil refinery killed a worker and injured three others Thursday, a company official said.

The blast occurred about 2:30 a.m. in a large vessel used to remove sulfur

from crude oil, said Darwin Sainz, Unocal's governmental affairs supervisor.A contractor's workers were cleaning the tank when sulfur dioxide gas inside apparently exploded.

"It was not a fire. It was a sudden expansion of gas either in the vessel or the system," Mr. Sainz said, adding that the cause was unknown.

The blast was contained within the vessel, he said. The body of the dead person remained inside the unit for hours while crews removed the toxic gas and ensured that the unit was safe to enter.