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Blaze at Valero Refinery Injures Three

A fire broke out at a West Texas refinery Friday, injuring at least three people and sending a huge black cloud billowing into the sky.

Dumas Fire Chief Paul Jenkins said the Valero McKee Refinery, which has more than 400 workers, was evacuated following the blast.

"The main thing is getting them away from there," Moore County Judge Rowdy Rhoades said.

In a statement, Valero said company emergency response staff administered first aid on-site to three individuals.

One contract employee was flown by helicopter to the Harnar Burn Center at the University Medical Center in Lubbock, the company said. Two Valero refining employees were taken to the burn center by ambulance.

Another Valero refining employee was taken to a local hospital as a result of chest pains.

A nursing supervisor at University Medical Center said two patients were flying in, but their status wasn't known.

Valero Energy operates 17 refineries -- 16 in North America and one in Aruba. The McKee refinery, one of six in Texas, has a capacity of 170,000 barrels per day.

Dumas, population 14,000, is located about 50 miles north of Amarillo.

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