Refinery explosion rocks Superior, injures several

An explosion at the Husky oil refinery in Superior, Wisconsin, a blue collar city across the bridge from Duluth, Minnesota. (PHOTO: screenshot from WDIO-TV live report)

Today an explosion rocked the Husky oil refinery in Superior, Wisconsin, shaking the whole city and causing several casualties. We’re still awaiting word on the total number of those hurt and the severity of their injuries. Already, this might be one of the worst industrial disasters in recent memory for this blue collar region.

UPDATE: People are being evacuated from nearby areas and from areas up to ten miles south of the explosion after fires reignited around noon.

UPDATE II: A day later, officials lifted the evacuation of much of Superior and surrounding rural areas. The fire burned for several hours. Now, the long process of clean-up and assessment takes place. A plant that employs 180 people and produces a number of petroleum products will be off line indefinitely. Meantime, we seek answers on what happened and how people and surrounding nature might be affected by this disaster.

Superior is a blue collar city across the bridge from Duluth, Minnesota. Though located in Wisconsin, it’s economy and culture tie closely to Duluth and Minnesota’s Iron Range. In addition to the refinery, Superior supports cargo shipping docks and other industrial works.

Duluth News Tribune coverage

WDIO-TV coverage

KBJR-TV coverage

I’d also encourage you to tune in to 91.3 FM KUWS, the Wisconsin Public Radio affiliate in Superior. They staff a news department that specializes in local coverage and breaking news.

I worked at KUWS when I attended UW-Superior. I always thought of the town as an Iron Range city in many ways. Like the Range, Superior boasts a rich, diverse history and working class culture. And like the Range, industrial accidents once killed hundreds of people but far fewer today. Nevertheless, days like today remind of the risks ever present in the labor that makes society work.


  1. This is nothing compared to what the range DFL is willing to unleash on NE Minnesota for a handful of short term jobs. Joe and Jason both think this kind of disaster is just the cost of doing business in the Trump era.

  2. This is not a question, but an inquiry based on curiosity. What candidates are you and others you know who share your opinions backing for the CD8 contest? Lee? Sandman/Stauber? If Lee loses the primary to Metsa or Randinovich, who will you then back? Sandman/Stauber? Or will you not vote at all in that race?

    As I say, just trying to get the pulse of what is going on following the dropouts of Nolan and Phifer.

  3. can’t say yet gerald. Hoping someone new enters the race. Feeling that killing the range dfl strangle hold might be more important than anything else in this cycle. Far as I am concerned a dem/republican like Jason or Joe is little different than Stauber. Both will have zero power except to advance what they all agree on….opening the non-ferrous Pandora’s box as wide as possible before the end of the Trump money grab. long time before November.

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