Officials Learn 'Prevention and Preparation' from Husky Refinery Fire Incident

Ryan Juntti
Updated: September 25, 2018 06:55 PM

DULUTH - Wednesday marks 5 months to the day of the Husky Oil Refinery fire in Superior. That incident obviously presented a significant safety hazard, and leaders discussed workplace and other forms of safety at the annual Northern Regional Safety Day at Spirit Mountain in Duluth.


There were about 170 safety professionals there to learn about how they can improve safety related to the workplace, driving and public safety.

One of the topics discussed was the Husky Oil Refinery Fire, which officials say they have learned from.

It took a collaborative effort to make sure the worst possible scenario was prevented during the Husky Oil Refinery Fire.

"Our response really involved not only government agencies, but a lot of private industries, and private businesses," said Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger.

That was one of the takeaways from the Northern Regional Safety Day, an event aimed at teaching safety professionals about best practices.

"This gives those safety professionals a chance to get together, share some notes, hear from some speakers talking on topics that are timely, and just gives them a chance to step back and learn a little bit about their business for a change," said Minnesota Safety Council President Paul Aasen. 

Panger says that incidents like the Husky Oil Refinery fire don't happen often, but that it's important to be prepared for when they do.

"A good response starts with prevention, and preparation," said Panger.

But if disaster does strike, then it's about learning how to prevent those incidents in the future.

"When they do happen, it's our duty to look at those and not only try to learn from them but evaluate our own performance and try to get better," said Panger.

While the fire department was heavily involved, he believes that other safety professionals can learn from the experience as well.

"It's really important to plan, to use the resources that you have available in your community and your area, and to make sure that you're connected with those response people that you may very well see during an event," said Panger.

The Regional Safety Day event started in 1925, around the time when manufacturing and mining companies recognized the need for safety.


Ryan Juntti

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