BILLINGS - The fertilizer plant that exploded in Waco, Texas had been cited in the past for numerous safety violations. But what about our own agriculture and oil refineries right here? Are they safe and what plans are in place to make sure similar explosions don't occur?
The oil refineries in town have strict regulations and safety guidelines and are required to follow those rules in order to operate. The Phillips 66 refinery also participated in a mock emergency explosion drill late last year to practice how they and first responders would react if a large scale accident occurred.
Billings fire chief Paul Dextras said our region has adequate resources to handle situations if they come up at local plants. But he thinks a great deal of the responsibility falls on the public to make sure they stay safe in the event of an emergency.
"I personally think people shouldn't worried, but they should be very aware that these things happen in a community and to think ahead of what they would do, how they would take care of their family, their possessions, even their pet," said Dextras.
Although none of the local refineries agreed to be on camera, the Phillips 66 refinery did release a statement. It states, "Phillips 66 is committed to protecting the health and safety of everyone who plays a part in our operations and lives in the communities in which we operate...In the unlikely event of an emergency, plans and processes are in place to ensure we can respond effectively."