According to emergency radio traffic, there was an incident at the Phillips 66 refinery on Unick Road this evening about 5pm involving a caustic liquid or gas. Several emergency aid units responded to a report that some employees may have been exposed to it.
According to Whatcom County Fire District 7 (WCFD7) Division Chief Ben Boyko, 7 people were transported to PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center from the refinery. They were treated for inhalation injury and exposure to hydrofluoric acid (HF). 1 was transported in serious condition while the other 6 were transported as a precautionary measure.
As of 7pm, WCFD7 units had cleared the scene.
Hydrofluoric acid is referred to in a recent Huffington Post story.
“The chemical is used to produce high-octane gasoline at about a third of the 141 oil refineries in the United States. If released HF forms a fast-moving, ground-hugging cloud that can cause lasting lung damage, severe burns or death.”
According to reports, Phillips 66 began seasonal turnaround work this week at the refinery in Ferndale. The work is expected to last at least 45 days and results in a significantly larger population of employees onsite.
No response from Phillips 66 officials yet.