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Exxon Mobil settles with U.S. over Texas refinery fire in 2013

A logo of the Exxon Mobil Corp is seen at the Rio Oil and Gas Expo and Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department and Exxon Mobil Corp have reached a settlement resolving Clean Air Act violations stemming from a 2013 fire at the company’s Beaumont, Texas, refinery that killed two employees and injured 10 others, the department said on Wednesday.

Under the consent decree, the company must pay a $616,000 civil penalty, hire a third-party auditor and purchase a vehicle for the Beaumont Fire and Rescue Service valued at $730,000, the department said in a statement.

The 2013 fire broke out at the refinery when workers removed bolts from a section of a heat exchanger using a torch, which released hydrocarbons, the Justice Department said.

A heat exchanger heats raw material entering a unit and cools product leaving a unit by having them pass close to each other in a dense piping system.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s inspection after the incident uncovered violations of Chemical Accident Prevention provisions, according to the Justice Department.

Reporting by Makini Brice; editing by Eric Beech and Cynthia Osterman

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