Arlington's Bowen among four killed by Anacortes refinery fire

ANACORTES — Arlington resident Matthew Bowen was among the three people who died at the scene of an April 2 explosion at an Anacortes oil refinery.

Bowen, 31, was among the four employees of the Tesoro Corp. refinery who were killed by the fire, with the fourth dying from burn wounds at the hospital. Three other employees have been hospitalized, with major burns over the majority of their bodies, in the wake of the 12:30 a.m. fire. Skagit County Deputy Coroner Bob Clark confirmed Bowen's identity.

The fire began during maintenance work and was extinguished within roughly 90 minutes. Tesoro spokesman Greg Wright noted that all employees have been accounted for and parts of the refinery are still operating, but at reduced rates.

"We have not yet been able to enter the area to begin an investigation, but are expected to do so by the end of the day," said an April 2 press release on the Tesoro Web Site. "As more details become available about the incident we will share them. Several government agencies have been contacted, including OSHA and the Chemical Safety Board, and we will fully cooperate with their investigations."

U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board spokesman Daniel Horowitz expressed the board's concerns about safety in this sector, after a number of accidents and safety violations found at refineries by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The Tesoro Corp. was fined $85,700 last year for 17 serious safety and health violations.

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