* Seven contractors hospitalized; Four being treated for
* Wednesday flash fire hit unit being overhauled
HOUSTON, April 18 The overhaul of a hydrotreater
hit by a flash fire on Wednesday at Exxon Mobil Corp's
344,500 barrel per day (bpd) Beaumont, Texas, refinery has
halted while an investigation into the blaze is underway, said
sources familiar with refinery operations on Thursday.
Seven contract workers remain in a hospital in Galveston,
Texas, for treatment of their injuries, said a spokeswoman for
the University of Texas Medical Branch. Four of the men are
being treated for burns suffered in the fire.
Five other contractors injured in the blaze were treated at
area hospitals and released, Exxon said on Thursday.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has
taken control of the site of the blaze and won't release the
unit to Exxon's control until it has completed its probe, the
An OSHA representative was not immediately available to
discuss the investigation.
The hydrotreater, which uses hydrogen to remove pollutants
from the feedstocks used to make motor fuels, had been shut for
The workers were cutting into a heat exchanger on the
hydrotreater when the flash fire broke out.
(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)