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Torrance Fire Chief: Human Error Caused Crane Collapse At Refinery

3_injured_in_crane_collapse_at_Torrance_Torrance Fire Chief: Human Error Caused Crane Collapse At Refinery

Operator error was the reason why a 300-pound crane collapsed at the now former ExxonMobil Torrance Refinery last week, Torrance Fire department officials said Friday. PBF Energy assumed ownership of the refinery Friday

Human error caused the collapse of a 300-ton crane last week at the now former ExxonMobil Torrance Refinery that injured three workers, Torrance Fire Chief Martin Serna said Friday.

His remark came the same day fire officials released a short narrative describing the event, although no cause was given in the document. Serna did not elaborate in his brief remarks to a reporter Friday.

Cal-OSHA officials confirmed earlier this week they are investigating the latest industrial accident at the troubled refinery, although they declined substantive comment, citing the ongoing inquiry.

The collapse was just the latest in a series of accidents since a February 2015 explosion crippled the plant’s ability to manufacture gasoline. The sale of the plant, originally announced last year, formally closed Friday, enabling New Jersey-based PBF Energy to assume control of the refinery.

The crane collapse occurred at 9:11 a.m. June 20 as the 165-foot-high crane worked to lift demolition debris, according to the narrative provided by the Fire Department, which did not appear to be an official incident report.

As it fell, the crane damaged a fuel gas line and a steam line, prompting the refinery to flare to release the vapor.

Refinery fire brigade members also sprayed water on the gas vapors to disperse them.
Earlier this week, Assemblyman David Hadley issued a press release requesting a copy of the Cal-OSHA interim report on the crane collapse as soon as it is available.

“I want to ensure that my staff and I understand what ExxonMobil is doing to proactively improve the safety of personnel at the refinery, and I also want to ensure that Cal-OSHA is performing its regulatory and oversight roles effectively and timely,” he said in a statement.

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