WOODS CROSS -- An explosion in November at neighboring Silver Eagle Refinery prompted Holly Oil to analyze what effect a vapor cloud explosion incident at its facility would have on surrounding homes and residents in West Bountiful, where much of Holly is actually located, despite its Woods Cross address.
Holly contracted the study through Houston-based RRS/Schirmer, a risk-management company.
Vice President Lynn Keddington presented the results of the study to the West Bountiful City Council at a recent meeting.
"(RRS/Schirmer) did a study on the blast zone around Holly and did an analysis of the disaster zone surrounding the refinery.
"We asked what damage a (vapor cloud explosion) would cause to our four closest neighbors. Damage to surrounding homes ranged from possible broken glass and minor cosmetic damage to potential shattered glass," he said.
The study indicated the main risk to humans would be injuries from broken glass. Keddington said the damage could be compared to that caused by 100 mph winds.
"The difference is, this will be an instantaneous wind, an instantaneous shock wave. It's not like when you see clouds on the mountains and can anticipate the wind. For this analysis, they've taken educated experience to reach the conclusions; the results are not guaranteed," he said.
A meeting attendee asked how animals in areas surrounding Holly would fare during such a catastrophic event.
"It could affect them, just like it could affect a human," he said.
Keddington emphasized the point that this study referred to the effects on the surrounding area from a pressure wave, not a chemical release.
Mayor Ken Romney said he appreciated the effort Holly made to keep its neighbors and the city staff informed.
The RRS/Schirmer report can be accessed online through www.hollycorp.com/documents/HollyWoodsCrossResidentialImpact_2010-02-04.pdf