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Celebration Canceled After Oil Refinery Fire

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Smoke can be seen from the Marathon Detroit Refinery. (Credit/WWJ Tipster Jan)

Smoke can be seen from the Marathon Detroit Refinery. (Credit/WWJ Tipster Jan)

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By DAVID RUNK, Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) – A state agency canceled a Wednesday event to honor the safety record of a Detroit oil refinery where a recent fire prompted evacuations of area residents.

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration had planned to present Marathon Petroleum with an award Wednesday for an outstanding safety and health record, and issued an advisory Tuesday to promote the event.

On Wednesday morning, however, the agency said in a statement it canceled the event while the company investigated the fire.

The April 27 fire forced the temporary evacuation of a number of area residents from their homes. No one was injured in the blaze, which burned a tank that the company said held wastewater produced in refining processes.

The fire is being investigated but it could be weeks before the cause is known, Findlay, Ohio-based Marathon said.

Jamal Kheiry, a spokesman for Marathon, said he hadn’t been aware of the planned event and had no comment on the agency’s decision. He said the refinery has a good overall safety record.

The refinery “goes above and beyond safety requirements” set at the federal level, he said.

Marathon was to get the CET Platinum Award, which according to the state recognizes an outstanding safety record of five or more years.

RELATED: Detroit Residents Want Evacuation Plan After Refinery Explosion

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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