A worker who was hospitalized with severe burn injuries from an explosion at an El Dorado, Kansas, oil refinery Monday, Sept. 4, has died.
The worker, reported to be a man in his 50s, was injured in a blast at the HollyFrontier refinery, which processes about 135,000 barrels of crude oil per day at its facilities in El Dorado, about 30 miles northeast of Wichita.
According to the Associated Press, the worker was taken to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis in Wichita with second- and third-degree burn injuries covering 80 percent of his body. He died in the hospital overnight, Reuters reported.
It is not clear what the man’s job at the refinery was or whether he was directly employed by HollyFrontier. No other injuries were reported among workers and others at or near the facility.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends,” said George Damiris, CEO and president of HollyFrontier Cos, in a statement.
Reuters reported that the man was a member of the local chapter of the United Steelworkers labor union.
”It is a difficult time for all. Our union is working with OSHA to investigate this incident and find the root cause(s) so it does not happen again,” Lynne Hancock, spokesperson for the USW’s oil sector, said in an email to Reuters.
The cause of the blast remains under investigation, but a source familiar with the operations at the facility told Reuters that the fire started after a furnace associated with the plant’s reformer unit blew. The part of the plant where the blast occurred was shut down on Monday but the rest of the refinery remained in operation.