WOODS CROSS -- Within only a few hours of Linda Wood's home being condemned following a refinery explosion, everything, including an antique piano, had been packed out and put into storage units.
Wood was still trying to make sense of what happened after she left her home on 925 West in Woods Cross to spend the morning volunteering at Woods Cross Elementary School.
When she returned from the school Wednesday morning, Wood found her front door off the hinges, the garage door buckled, windows blown out and her fence knocked down.
"I saw the smoke from the refinery and knew what happened," said Wood, who has lived in the home for the past six years.
At 9:15 a.m., she felt and heard the explosion at Silver Eagle Refining, 2355 S. 1100 West.
She thought it was part of the concrete work being done at the school.
Wood's home was just one in her neighborhood east of the refinery that suffered damage from the blast.
Her home was condemned because it was blown off its foundation and sustained other serious structural damage, she said.
She was inside her home for at least an hour after returning from the school before city crews and police arrived. After the building inspector looked at the damage, she was told she had to leave.
Ward said her neighbors immediately grouped together to call in members from her church. Trucks, trailers and boxes arrived within minutes.
"It's overwhelming," Wood said. "Even those next door whose house is damaged are here helping."
At least 10 homes to the east of the refinery suffered damage, including roofs popped off, siding blown off, windows blown out, garage doors buckled, doors cracked or blown from hinges, foundations cracked and insulation blown into living areas of homes.
Sandi Lowe, who lives across the street, said she was in her home when the blast occurred.
"It sounded like a sonic boom and a bomb," Lowe said. "It scared me to death. I felt it in my chest."
Her husband was in bed and ended up on the floor.
"I'm not staying," said Lowe, who has rented the house for only a few months.
Insulation from the attic fell inside the living room on top of the urn holding the remains of Lowe's 34-year-old daughter, who recently died.
"I grabbed her urn, my cats and I got in the car and got out of here," said Lowe, who returned later to assess the damage.
Refinery officials said it will take some time to investigate what happened.
Meanwhile, the refinery will provide around-the-clock security for the damaged homes, said Dave McSwain, president of the refinery.
The company also hired Belfor, a local disaster cleanup and restoration company, to work with residents.
More than 120 residences in the area were visited by city and company officials to assess damages.
McSwain and refinery and city officials were in Wood's neighborhood, inspecting damage, as soon as they received reports that houses had been affected.
"Our first concern was for our neighbors next to us," McSwain said.
Mayor Kent Parry said refinery officials told homeowners their "immediate needs would be met." They were also told to keep a file of all expenses incurred from repairs or moving.
What surprised officials was that no one was hurt, he said.
South Davis Metro Fire Agency Deputy Chief Jeff Bassett said the explosion occurred because a pipe carrying hydrogen and diesel overfilled and sent some of the product onto the ground, where it pooled. It found an ignition source, a furnace, which caused the explosion.
The explosion was felt as far north as Roy and south in parts of Salt Lake County, said South Davis Metro Fire Agency Chief Jim Rampton.
He said Davis County sheriff's dispatch and Bountiful dispatch lines were clogged as multiple calls came in to 911.
The blast also caused power outages in the area, including at two other refineries.
The refinery in which the explosion occurred recently passed a safety inspection, McSwain said.
Dan Beecher, safety manager with the company, said Utah's Occupational Safety and Health Administration was at the scene to investigate.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board will also conduct its own investigation.
No one was hurt in this incident, unlike an explosion Jan. 12, when two refinery operators and two contractors suffered serious burns resulting from a flash fire.
The January accident occurred when a large flammable vapor cloud was released from a storage tank, which contained an estimated 440,000 gallons of light naphtha, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board Web site.
The vapor cloud found an ignition source, and the ensuing flash fire spread up to 230 feet west of the tank farm.
McSwain said even though the refinery, which was built in the 1950s, suffered some damage from the fire, he does not anticipate shutting it down. It has at least 80 employees.
Bassett said the Silver Eagle fire brigade had the fire under control when South Davis Metro firefighters arrived. It took about 30 minutes to extinguish the fire.
The refinery had made safety improvements since its January fire. It also sent some of its employees to Reno, Nev., for firefighting training.
Affected by explosion?
Any Woods Cross resident who has not been contacted concerning damage caused to their homes by Wednesday's refinery explosion can call Silver Eagle Refining at (801) 201-7272 or Woods Cross City Administrator Gary Uresk at (801) 292-4421.
Updated 10:58 p.m.
Explosion shakes homes as fire erupts at refinery
By Paul Foy (The Associated Press)
WOODS CROSS aEU" An explosion shook nearby homes as a fire broke out Wednesday at a refinery north of Salt Lake City. No injuries were reported, but one house was condemned.
The blast shifted one house off its foundation sill, prompting a building inspector to condemn it as unsafe, said Woods Cross Mayor Kent Parry.
Residents reported a aEUoesignificant boomaEU with damage to several homes around the Silver Eagle Refinery in Woods Cross, South Davis Metro Fire Deputy Chief Jeff Bassett said.
Parry said several other houses were without natural-gas service because residents switched off valves as a precaution. Gas service was not expected to be restored for a day and the refinery offered to put displaced families up in local hotels.
The refinery fire was contained but not yet out, said Krege Christensen, a company vice president.
Christensen said the exact cause of the explosion also remained unclear, but the trouble started at a pipeline connecting two vessels. He acknowledged the blast knocked out windows of nearby houses.
aEUoeWe donaEU(tm)t know what happened, but nobody was hurt,aEU he said.
Christensen said a brief power outage was reported at the nearby Holly and Flying J refineries in West Bountiful, causing generators to kick in. Steam and fire were released as a safety measure, he said.
Silver Eagle had a similar outage and a diesel unit caught fire, said Cindy Gubler, a public relations consultant for Silver Eagle Refinery. The chain of events remained unclear.
Christensen said his company believed a utility outage led to trouble at multiple refineries, but Rocky Mountain Power said it didnaEU(tm)t cause the problem.
Utility spokesman Dave Eskelsen said the explosion at Silver Eagle briefly knocked out a 46,000-volt transmission line, leading to emergency measures at the refineries.
It was the second blaze this year at the Silver Eagle refinery. On Jan. 12, four people were seriously burned when a 440,000 gallon storage tank caught fire and burned for 11 hours.
Federal investigators said the ignition source may have been a gas heater or a refrigeratoraEU(tm)s electric outlet in a utility shed about 160 feet from the tank.
Silver Eagle Refining Inc. is about five miles north of Salt Lake City.
Updated 3:28 p.m.
Refinery explosion rattles residents, damages reported
WOODS CROSS -- A refinery fire at Silver Eagle Refinery (2355 South, 1100 West) set off an explosion Wednesday morning that was felt as far away as south Layton and temporarily knocked out power in Woods Cross City.
Mayor Kent Parry said the explosion occurred about 9:13 a.m., shaking homes in the area.
The explosion and subsequent fire was caused by a pipe filled with hydrogen and diesel which overflowed and pulled on the ground, causing ignition, according to Chief Fire Deputy Jeff Bassett.
Some callers reported their windows on their homes being blown out, according to witnesses.
As of 9:30 a.m., Parry said he did not know if there were injuries. But the explosions, and a "substantial fire" that followed seemed to originate from the area where oil refineries are located in the city.
Smoke from the fire could be seen from as far away as Farmington, said one observer.
Emergency crews were at the scene and felt they had the fire under control.
No evacuations were being conducted at the refinery or in Woods Cross, said Bassett.
There are reports of structure damages to nearby buildings.