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Company says fire extinguished at Memphis refinery

NASHVILLE, Tenn (Reuters) - A fire on Friday at Valero Energy Corp's refinery in Memphis, Tennessee, has been extinguished and there were no reports of injuries, the company said.

Spokesman Bill Day said all Valero personnel and contract employees had been accounted for.

There was an explosion and fire at the refinery in the early morning. The blast was heard by nearby businesses, local media reports said, and a massive plume of black smoke was seen for a long distance.

"When we arrived on the scene at 7:28 (a.m.), there was heavy smoke and fire coming from the structure," said Lieutenant Wayne Cooke, public information officer for the Memphis Fire Department.

He said the refinery's own fire department had already been involved in fighting the blaze when the city units arrived.

"The fire was brought under control at 7:54," said Cooke. He said 60 pieces of fire and rescue equipment and vehicles and 139 personnel were dispatched to the fire.

"The origin was a process heater," Cooke said. "We have not determined the cause at this point."

The fire shut two crude units at the refinery. The company said there was no immediate estimate for the length of the crude unit outage.

(Reporting by Tim Ghianni; additional reporting by Antonita Devotta, Soma Das and Jeffrey Kerr; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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