The explosion at the gasoline processing unit, in Torrance California, resulted in a visibly damaged structure, smoke released in the air, which smelled sulfur and chemicals. Inspectors from the South Coast Air Quality Management District took samples of the air for immediate analysis, while issuing a health advisory for the residents of the city's 147,000 residents.
The refinery extends over an area of 750 acres (300 hectares), has 650 employees and 550 contractors, and a daily capacity of 155,000 barrels, according to Exxon Mobil. California Department of Industrial Relations, ordered Exxon Mobil to stop operating the 100,000 barrel/day fluid catalytic cracker until investigation is complete. The shut down of the unit could last up to six months.
According to an unidentified source, "an electrostatic precipitator (ESP), which reduces fluid catalytic cracker particulates, exploded as contract workers were doing maintenance on the nearby fluid catalytic cracking unit, or FCC". The source also said that the unit may take up to a year to replace.