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Fire at ExxonMobil Plant Near Houston Injures 4 Contractors

A fire at a hydrotreater at an ExxonMobil oil refinery east of Houston affected a unit that produces gasoline.

A fire and explosion at Exxon Mobil's  (XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report Baytown, Texas, facility injured four of the oil major's contractors, according to news reports.

The Baytown facility is spread across 3,400 acres along the Houston Ship Channel, about 25 miles (40 km) east of Houston. It employs about 7,000 people.

"The fire occurred in a hydrotreater unit at the oil refinery that had been shut on Wednesday due to a bypass line leak," people familiar with plant operations told Reuters. The injured were contractors who had been repairing the leak.

The blaze had reportedly affected a unit that produces gasoline at the country's fourth biggest oil refinery.

"There were no fatalities and those injured were in a stable condition," Reuters reported. 

ExxonMobil confirmed that a fire occurred at the facility, which houses a chemical plant and a 560,500-barrel-per-day oil refinery, according to Reuters. 

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The company said it was coordinating with local officials and working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

The fire flared at the facility around 1 a.m. Thursday night and took over five hours to put out, Reuters reported.

Three injured staffers are being treated after a rescue helicopter got them out of the explosion area. A fourth person was taken by ambulance, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said on Twitter.

In a statement cited by Fox News, Exxon said, "A fire has occurred at the Baytown Refinery. Our fire teams are working to extinguish the fire. 

"We are conducting personnel accounting. Our first priority remains the safety of people, including our employees, contractors and the surrounding community. 

"As a precaution, we are beginning to conduct air quality monitoring at the site and fence line. We are cooperating with regulatory agencies. We deeply regret any disruption or inconvenience that this incident may have caused the community."