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Family of Wynnewood refinery explosion victim speak out

By: Sara Humphrey Email
By: Sara Humphrey Email

WYNNEWOOD, OK - The family of one of the men killed in the Wynnewood refinery accident spoke with us about that tragic day.

Billy Smith's family says they remember it just like it was yesterday. Billy's mother said, "I kept calling them and asking what happened and I asked where it was it was where billy worked so I knew as a mother."

Smith was one of two men who died as a result of the September 28 explosion at the Wynnewood refinery.

Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes says the second victim, Russell Mann of Davis, died from his injuries two weeks later at an Oklahoma City hospital.

Smith's wife and mother had only kind words about Smith's character,
calling him a great family man and a hard worker. Billy's mom said, "It was a community wide tragedy, as well as a tragedy for our family. Billy was loved."

Although they know it won't bring Smith back, they still hope for answers.

In a statement released shortly after the explosion the company said they, along with the Occupational Safety Health Administration, would be investigating the cause.

This is not the first incident at the Wynnewood Refinery. There was an explosion in December 2010, a fire in April of 2008, and in 2007 lightning stuck tens of thousands barrels of oils causing flames that could be seen 60 miles away. No one was injured in these accidents, but OSHA did fine the refinery $91,000 in 2008 for safety and health violations.


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