An explosion at Israel’s largest oil refinery resulted in a gas leak that killed three people last week. Located in the bay area of Haifa, Oil Refineries Ltd. (ORL) has an annual capacity of 9.8million tons of crude oil and a daily maximum capacity of 196,000 barrels. Though its facilities are considered to be “state-of-the-art” last week Tuesday something went terribly wrong, resulting in the death of three people under thirty-five including two cousins. An environment ministry official told Haaretz that he has no doubt that the accident was caused by negligence.
When the Israeli paramedics arrived at the scene of the accident last Tuesday evening, four people lay unconscious, according to Haaretz. Two were brought down from an elevated installation. Two of the victims died that evening, while the third died in the hospital the following day.
ORL’s owner released the following statement:
“Refinery installations have been shut down over the last month for scheduled work. As part of this, a number of workers approached an installations containing gas, wearing full protective gear, including masks. For a reason that is not yet clear, they were affected by the flow of gas.”
But Shlomo Katz, Haifa’s district manager of the Ministry of Environment was less equivocal. He explained that the event had to have been caused by negligence and that the employees were not working according to protocol. The accident could have been avoided if the employees had worked with a closed security system, he told Haaretz.
ORL had been closed for a month prior to the explosion.
The gases leaked as a result of the explosion included Hydrogen sulfide (H2S).
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