TORRANCE (CBSLA.com) — Many people here say Tuesday’s refinery fire was the last straw.
“We have no idea what we’re breathing on any given night,” Joe Sapienza says. “This refinery continues to use a very dangerous process.”
Dozens gathered to raise their concerns and ask questions about the safety of the Torrance refinery Wednesday night.
Torrance Fire Department officials said Tuesday’s fire happened near the unit where hydrofluoric acid is stored, but a spokesperson says the public was never in danger.
However neighbors say they’re on edge because during the refinery’s explosion last year debris narrowly missed that same container. And if that acid was released experts say the results could have been catastrophic.
Catherine Leys is a founder of Torrance action group FLARE. And as a mother she says the fire was frightening.
“I have a three-year old and a five-year-old and I was actually working when I got the alert and I was horrified.”
No one from the refinery attended the meeting but provided this statement in part.
“We responded to calls from the community and we are aware of their concerns and take them very seriously. We can assure our neighbors that all the safety systems we have in place worked properly Tuesday night and there was no offsite impact.”
Many people here say they understand the refinery provides income and jobs for the city of Torrance but don’t want to live in danger.
“This multi-billion dollar company has to make this safe or leave,” Joan Davidson said.