HOUSTON A Louisiana environmental group said on Tuesday that ExxonMobil Corp's Baton Rouge, Louisiana, refinery, where four workers were burned in a November 22 fire, has been poorly maintained for years.
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade, which works to improve safety and reduce pollution from refineries and chemical plants in the state, highlighted findings of a 2012 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inspection of the refinery as showing long-standing flaws in maintenance.
"This accident fits in a pattern of a poorly maintained facility that has consistent and constant accidents," Anne Rolfes, director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, said on Tuesday.
An Exxon spokeswoman on Tuesday criticized the Bucket Brigade's work.
"We have not read this latest report, but the Bucket Brigade's previous reports have consistently contained deliberate inaccuracies and misrepresent industry activities," spokeswoman Ashley Alemayehu said.
The 2012 EPA inspection found fault with Exxon's maintenance of some equipment and certain procedures at the Baton Rouge refinery.
The cause of the November 22 fire has not been determined. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board are investigating the blaze on an alkylation unit.
Last week, the safety board said six workers were injured. Four were admitted to a Baton Rouge hospital in critical condition.
As of Friday, one of the injured was listed in fair condition and the other three were in serious condition, according to a report by the Baton Rouge Advocate.
A hospital spokesman did not reply to a request on Tuesday for information on the workers' conditions.
(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Leslie Adler)