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Steelworkers killed in Tuesday fire and 'explosion' at BP refinery in Oregon identified as brothers

The victims were identified as two steelworkers, brothers Ben and Max Morrissey. A fund accepting donations has been set up by USW Local 1-346 in their memory.

OREGON, Ohio — A fire at the BP-Husky refinery on Cedar Point Road in Oregon killed two people Tuesday night, according to a statement Wednesday morning from BP spokesperson Megan Baldino.

Baldino also said the refinery "has been safely shut down while the response is underway."

"It is with deep sadness we report that two BP staff injured in a fire at the BP Husky Toledo Refinery have passed away," Baldino said. "Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of these two individuals. All other staff is accounted for and our employee assistance team is on-site in Toledo to support our employees impacted by this tragedy."

The victims were later identified as brothers and members of United Steelworkers 1-346 by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, Wednesday evening on the floor of the House of Representatives during Kaptur's general speech.

"Madam Speaker, I rise today with deep sadness to pay tribute to two highly skilled U.S. steelworkers, brothers Ben and Max Morrissey who tragically lost their lives at the British Petroleum refinery in my hometown," Kaptur said. "Yesterday while on the job at the BP-Husky plant in Oregon, Ohio, their lives were cut short in a horrific explosion. Responsible citizens, husbands and fathers who performed America’s essential work that drives progress and our American way of life forward."

On Wednesday, USW Local 1-346 released a statement, announcing the setup of the "Ben and Max Morrissey Fund" in memory of the brothers.

Donations for the fund are being accepted at two locations:

  • Croghan National Bank at 4157 Navarre Ave., Oregon, OH 43616
  • USW Local 1-346 at 2910 Consaul St., Toledo, OH 43605

You can also make a donation via Venmo (@USW1-346) or PayPal (usw346hall@yahoo.com).

A GoFundMe campaign has also been set up to "provide for the future expenses" of Ben's and Max's children. 

The Morrissey Children's Trust GoFundMe campaign can be found here

RELATED: Ohio politicians, other leaders react to fatal BP Toledo Refinery fire

Large amounts of black smoke, flames and burnoff were seen coming from the area. Witnesses described the incident as an "explosion."

As of Wednesday morning, a cause had not been determined. The fire was extinguished at about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday.

The refinery remains offline Wednesday.

The family of Ben and Max Morrissey confirmed to WTOL 11 Tuesday night they were severely burned. All other staff were accounted for, according to the statement. Around 600 people work at the refinery. It was unclear how many were working the night of the fire.

Chris Howard was waiting to hear from his father who works at the plant Tuesday night. He received a phone call around 7 p.m. from a friend who works security at the refinery.

"He said it was like some sort of explosion," Howard said. "He told me there was just a big rumble at the refinery, lots of fire everywhere. He said it's the worst he's seen. Lots of people injured."

Lucas County Regional Dispatch confirmed that EMS responded to the scene and to reports of injuries. Dispatch was unable to say how many people were potentially hurt or how serious the injuries may be. The Morrissey brothers are the only confirmed victims of the fire.

The refinery has been running for over 100 years. It covers 585 acres and can process a capacity of 155,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

The refinery produces gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas, diesel fuels, jet fuel, propane, propylene, flue gases, kerosene, Sulphur, heating oil, pet coke and asphalt. 

In August, Calgary-based Cenovus announced it will pay $300 million for BP's remaining 50% stake in the BP-Husky Toledo Refinery. Cenovus, BP's joint venture partner, already owns the other 50%.

This is a developing story. Stay with WTOL 11 for the latest updates on air, online and on our free WTOL 11 News app.

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