Valero worker dies in chemical exposure incident at Memphis refinery

One employee of Valero's Memphis refinery has died while others are reportly injured after a chemical exposure incident, news reports said on Tuesday.

Reuters reported that a contractor at the refinery was also injured in the incident, while the Associated Press said that two firefighters were injured.

The accident occurred Monday morning when an equipment failure released a hazardous chemical inside the refinery, leading to chemical burns when a small glass window shattered in an alkylation unit.

Local fire department officials said the workers were exposed to a mixture of propane and hydrofluoric acid released from a ruptured sight glass, according to Memphis newspaper The Commercial Appeal.

"The incident is under investigation, so any speculation at this point is premature," said Valero spokesman Bill Day.

Valero said the incident did not involve an explosion or fire, despite initial reports from local media to the contrary. Operations at the 180,000 bpd were not affected, according to the company.

Three workers at the Memphis refinery were hurt last March in a flash fire during an overhaul of a crude distillation unit (CDU). One of the workers later died, Reuters reported.

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