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Employees exposed to acid in St. Paul Park refinery leak

Western Refining is investigating last weekend's leak at St. Paul Park. Katie Nelson / Bulletin

Five refinery employees were transported for treatment Saturday after being exposed to a hydrofluoric acid leak at Western Refining in St. Paul Park.

According to the initial complaint report, around 1:30 p.m., April 8, St. Paul Park officers responded to a medical call at the refinery and transported two men for inhalation and skin contamination. Three more were transported for inhalation only.

Officers found hydrofluoric acid exposure kits being used by refinery emergency workers when they arrived. Three men were on oxygen, and two others had been exposed. All five were able to walk and talk at the scene.

"We transported five people to the hospital for inspection and to make sure everyone was okay," Western Refining spokesman Gary Hanson said. "They've all been checked over and discharged."

Numerous other employees were decontaminated.

Cottage Grove fire and EMS crews also responded.

Hanson said there were contractors doing maintenance when the leak occurred, adding that the cause is still under investigation. 

"We're working with the contractor to make sure we have a good understanding of what steps they were taking," he said.

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