Former Miller County resident describes fire at ExxonMobil Texas refinery

A major fire occurred at an ExxonMobil facility in Baytown, Texas during the early morning...
A major fire occurred at an ExxonMobil facility in Baytown, Texas during the early morning hours of Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021.
Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 1:03 PM CST
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BAYTOWN, Texas (KSLA) - Crews are still trying to determine the cause of a large fire at a Houston-area refinery that left multiple people injured.

Millie Johnson, who lives in Baytown, Texas, used to live in Miller County, Ark. She says she was at home when the ExxonMobil refinery caught fire.

“We had just gotten in bed and we could hear a rumble and all of a sudden, it just went ‘boom,’” Johnson said. “And it was like we were in a big vacuum and it rattled things and knocked them off the walls.”

Johnson says her home is only a couple of miles from the refinery; she was able to get pictures of the fire shortly after what she calls an explosion.

“Y’know, being that close, it was kind of scary,” Johnson said. “What it could have done if it had been worse.”

The refinery employs about 7,000 people. Company officials say four people were hurt. Residents near the refinery had to take safety precautions following the incident.

“[We were instructed] not to use heaters or anything because of the fumes that can come into your house while you are trying to sleep,” Johnson said.

ExxonMobil leaders say air quality monitoring has not revealed any issues. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

“I went out and took some pictures so I could say I lived through this one,” Johnson added.

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