US: Fire at Oklahoma natural gas facility prompts evacuations

An Oklahoma facility that processes natural gas was set ablaze Saturday, prompting mandatory evacuations of large swathes of homes and businesses around the Medford plant.

An unconfirmed explosion was observed at the plant, 85 miles south of Wichita, Kansas. However, it was not clear if the explosion was accidental, triggered by it, or if it was an exaggeration.

The explosion caused a 1.74 magnitude earthquake.

Brad Borror, a spokesperson of ONEOK, the operator of the facility, stated by email that all company personnel were present and that no injuries had been reported.

ONEOK described the “incident” that may have caused the fire to rage throughout the afternoon and early evening. According to ONEOK, the location is a natural gas liquids fractionation plant.

Fractionation refers to the process whereby components of natural gas can be made into products for sale, such as propane, butane, and natural gas for vehicles and homes. These hydrocarbon combinations are collectively known as natural gas liquids (NGLs).

Borror stated that “We are cooperating and appreciating the quick response of local emergency responders.” “We will continue to work with emergency responders to extinguish this fire and ensure the safety of our employees and the community.”

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