Tyler Fire Department speaks about cause of Delek explosion - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

TYLER (KLTV)

Tyler Fire Department speaks about cause of Delek explosion

Dale Sharman was killed in Thursday's refinery explosion. (Photo courtesy of Lloyd James Funeral Home) Dale Sharman was killed in Thursday's refinery explosion. (Photo courtesy of Lloyd James Funeral Home)
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    Delek Refining says at least six employees were injured in yesterday's explosion. Four of them were transported to hospitals. As of Friday afternoon, James Hammett is still listed in critical condition at Parkland hospital. Tony Simpson has been released from ETMC in Tyler. Yesterday, Brett Wells was released from Trinity Mother Frances hospital in Tyler. The fourth patient passed away from his injuries early this morning at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. More >>
  • TYLER (KLTV)

    Update: Explosion at Delek Refining in Tyler leaves four injured

    Explosion At Refinery

    Clean up crews are continuing their work at Delek Refining in Tyler after an explosion at the local petroleum refinery, formerly known as La Gloria, that caused at least four injuries. The cause of the explosion, which happened just before 2:00 pm Thursday, is still being sought. OSHA says that its investigators are en route to Delek, and will take the lead in the investigation.More >>

KLTV 7 has learned what caused the deadly explosion at Delek Refining, formerly known as La Gloria, Thursday afternoon. The Tyler Fire Department says that while they're still investigating the explosion, there was a gas leak in one of the pipes inside the sat-gas unit of Delek Refining. In fact, they say the fire is still burning there Friday night because all the fluid and liquid has to be consumed. Delek says that fire is isolated.

OSHA is on the scene as well, and Delek has temporarily shut down production. Flags are flying at half staff to observe the tragedy that took place from Thursday's explosion. The Tyler Fire Department gave us an inside perspective of what it was like inside Delek yesterday and what caused the deadly explosion.

Tyler firefighters say a gas leak appears to be the culprit.

"Initially, there was a pipe that had ruptured that had gas escaping. And as that vapor cloud built it ignited and that's what created the loud explosion," said Chief Neal Franklin of the Tyler Fire Department.

Chief Franklin says he knew it was serious when the first units called for more ambulances.

"He was calling for as many as they could get so that was our concern...and while we were in route the crowds were already growing outside so it was tough for us to even get in there."

Not only were they dealing with hazardous chemicals, but strong winds also fueled the blaze.

"As the steel out there heats up and cools and we had that wind to deal with, then you could hear constantly there was a lot of creaking and things like that going on where the steel was moving and that was a concern," said Chief Franklin.

Tyler Fire crews worked throughout the night and then interviewed Delek employees.

"They said they heard a loud hissing sound...when a pipe ruptures it makes a sound and they heard a loud hissing sound which was the gas escaping and then of course the explosion took place," said Captain Jeff Akin with Tyler Fire.

Tonight, the unit is isolated, but the fire is still burning.

"It's still burning right now because fuel that's in that tank has to burn itself out. You don't want to extinguish a fire like that because then you still have escaping gas."

OSHA says they'll be looking at the maintenence of equipment and they'll interview employees at Delek to find out more about the training that employees receive there.

Delek Refining says at least six employees were injured in yesterday's explosion. 4 of them were transported to hospitals.

As of this afternoon, James Hammett was still listed in critical condition at Parkland Hospital. Tony Simpson has been released from ETMC Tyler.

Yesterday, Brett Wells was released from Trinity Mother Frances Hospital.

Courtney Lane, reporting. clane@kltv.com

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