What are the odds?

CHALMETTE, La. (AP) - Fire broke out at two oil refineries about
a mile and half apart early Tuesday, but the blazes were apparently
accidental and were brought under control without any significant
injuries, authorities said.
There was no indication that either blaze was terrorist-related
or sabotage, authorities said.
The most serious fire occurred at the Murphy Oil refinery where
a unit that turns crude oil into heavy tugboat fuel was heavily
damaged. The plant was shut down and it was unclear when it would
restart.
Some homes close to the Murphy Oil plant were evacuated for
several hours after the fire broke out about 2 a.m., said plant
manager Greg Neve. Although a cause had not been determined, Neve
said a pump seal failure was suspected.
"There's nothing that leads us to believe that there was
anything suspicious about this beyond the failure of the pump,"
Neve said at a news conference.
Neve said two refinery employees suffered minor injuries, both
of which were treated with first aid. Other than small residual
fires, the situation was brought under control by dawn, he said.
Kimberly Brasington, a spokeswoman for the ExxonMobil refinery,
said that fire appeared to have been caused by a pump failure, but
an investigation was under way.
Deputy Chief Alex Seruntine of the St. Bernard Parish Fire
Department said the calls came in about an hour apart, starting at
12:55 a.m.
"What are the odds that you would have a nearly simultaneous
event at both of the refineries on the same night?" said St.
Bernard Parish Sheriff Jack Stephens.
One firefighter suffered a minor facial injury when he was
struck by a hose, officials said.
Hazardous material crews from the Louisiana Department of
Environmental Quality and Louisiana State Police were brought to
the scene.


(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)