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Husky holds open house nearly one year after explosion, fire

SUPERIOR, WI — Nearly a year after the Husky Refinery explosion and fire, officials with the company held an open house in Superior Tuesday night to give an update on the rebuilding process.

“We’re kind of like the seasons right now,” Refinery Manager Kollin Schade said. “We’re going through a different phase. We’ve just come out of winterization phase, and now we’re in the demolition phase going forward.”

Some of the major topics at Tuesday night’s open house included the rebuild timeline and the company’s use of hydrogen fluoride.

“We’re a learning refinery,” Schade said. “We know that there’s things we can improve on, both safety and environmental, and we’re going to support those during the rebuild process.”

While Husky officials say there was no release of hydrogen fluoride during last year’s incident, some community members have called on Husky to reconsider its use.

“This isn’t about just this one incident,” Superior Resident Andre Letendere said. “It is for us as citizens, but the truth of the matter is Husky has the responsibility and the ability right now to go forward and do better.”

Tuesday brought a chance for the community to learn more about the plans, ask questions, and voice opinions of their own, with more opportunities to do so moving forward.

“Our intent is to have these periodically so that the community can come in, talk to us, and we can get to understand what their concerns are,” Schade said. “We can also listen to them and try to ensure them — or assure them that what we’re doing from a design and rebuild process is to benefit our employees and the community itself.”

With demolition scheduled to be completed by mid-summer, Husky officials say the rebuild process could start as early as next year.

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Gamiel Hall

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