Federal Investigators Say Tesoro Refinery Fire Could Have Been Prevented

Jan 30, 2014

The agency that investigates chemical accidents, the Chemical Safety Board, spent almost four years examining the causes of the deadly explosion. In their new report, they say Tesoro became complacent about cracks in equipment that caused flammable leaks. Don Holmstrom with the Chemical Safety Board says there also needs to be more regulatory scrutiny.

Federal investigators say the fire that claimed seven lives at Tesoro’s refinery in Anacortes in 2010 could have been prevented.
Credit Walter Siegmund / Wikimedia Commons

"Accidents with those sorts of potential deserve a lot more regulatory oversight and not just after the accident happens.  That certainly needs to occur if an accident does happen, but the focus and the regulatory power needs to occur on the preventative side," Holmstrom says. 

Tesoro spokeswoman Tina Barbee says the company deeply regrets the incident. But she says they disagree with several findings in the report, including the critique of their safety culture. The public can comment on the draft report by the Chemical Safety Board until March 16th.

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