Torrance Exxon Explosion: Refinery Fire, Blast at in S. California Plant (+Photos)

February 18, 2015 Updated: February 18, 2015

Reports on Tuesday morning say there may have been an explosion at the Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance, Calif. According to ABC, the cause of the blast is unclear.

The alleged blast was reported after 9 p.m. local time. Photos uploaded to Twitter show flames shooting out of the top of the refinery stacks. Users on Twitter said they could feel a blast or shaking of some sort. According to CBS local, schools were told to shelter in place after the incident. Some residents said they could see dust falling from the sky.

Minor injuries were reported. The explosion destroyed structures at the refinery. “You could feel it,” refinery worker Jason Hernandez told NBC. “It was like a loud sonic boom. My first reaction was, this doesn’t sound good, this doesn’t look good. Let’s get out of here.”


Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Billionaire Warren Buffett’s company unloaded its 41 million shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. and sold a smaller stake in ConocoPhillips as oil prices fell last fall.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. filed an update on the stocks it held at the end of 2014 with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday.

Berkshire had only held the Exxon Mobil investment since the third quarter of 2013. Buffett’s company previously bought 1.3 million shares of Exxon Mobil in late 2009, but didn’t hang onto that stock long.

Berkshire recorded a number of moves during the last three months of last year, including buying 15.6 million shares of Deere & Co. stock and adding nearly 6.5 million shares to its already sizeable IBM holdings to give it nearly 77 million shares.

Berkshire officials do not typically comment on these quarterly stock portfolio updates, and they did not immediately respond to questions Tuesday afternoon.

Many investors watch the filings closely because they like to copy Buffett’s moves given his remarkably successful record. Buffett is chairman and CEO of the conglomerate based in Omaha, Nebraska.

Berkshire’s combined filing includes investments made by two other executives at the company, so it’s not always clear whether Buffett made the decisions.

Buffett has said investments smaller than $300 million are likely to be the work of Berkshire’s investment managers. Another new investment revealed Tuesday was likely the work of either Todd Combs and or Weschler — Berkshire’s investment managers. Berkshire now owns 4.7 million shares of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

The Associated Press contributed to this post.