Fire broke out at the Valero refinery in Texas City on Thursday morning, apparently after lightning struck an electrical transformer there.
The fire caused transformer fuel to burn, emitting black smoke, and there were occasional flare-ups. Texas City Fire Department spokespeople said there were no injuries and there was no danger to the public but they did request non-essential personnel to stay away.
Their tactic as of Thursday morning was to let the fire burn itself out.
Valero, an international energy company, is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. Its Texas City Refinery is on the Texas City Ship Channel about 40 miles south of Houston.
It handles around 245,000 barrels per day and employs about 480 people.
It has facilities to receive crude oil by ship but most of its output is sent by pipeline with a major connection to Valero’s Houston refinery, which has bigger marine loading facilities.
Weather conditions that produced the lightning storm are expected to continue in the Houston area into Friday.