Valero Outlines Plans To Get Back On-line

Workers at the Valero plant in Sunray continue to re-build more than ten days after an explosion and fire.        

New today, officials release plans to get the refinery up and running again.

Newschannel10's Tina Berasley brings us the latest.

As many as 14 hundred workers continue to operate parts of the plant unaffected by the fire but they hope to soon get the plant back to its full operations. 

Jaime Valdez is on the emergency response team for the McKee refinery, and was one of the first of his colleagues on the scene after the disaster. He said "I can see they're ready to get back to work and get things done. Put their units back on line and get back to normal, whatever normal is now".

Valero officials say they already have a plan to get the now shut down refinery back on-line.

Beginning in April they hope to have it processing at least some of the 90 thousand barrels of crude oil it once handled a day.

Vice President and General Manager Tom Sherita says "We're fully committed to bringing this refinery back on line, we're gonna put it back together better than it was before...I can't think of one part of our response that hasn't been fantastic. All the employees have stepped up and said 'What do you need from me? What can I do?" 

To help those employees, some working 12 to 14 hour shifts, Valero has already provided over ten thousand meals in a climate controlled tent, free of charge.

Carpenter James Mears added; "That wasn't necessary but its been well appreciated...they've really supported us and the people that were having problems they've got them help and its really been real good".

Right now workers are assessing damage in the unit where the fire started, as well as getting utility systems back up and running.

Valdez said "It's gonna be a while but I think everybody wants that. I know I do". 

The area where the fire started may take as long as one year to repair. Valero tells us the plant can not operate up to full capacity until it is fixed.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

One of the victims of the blaze remains at the Lubbock burn unit.