NORCO, La. — An explosion and fire that ripped off roofs and doors rocked a Shell Oil Co. refinery Thursday, killing one worker, injuring 42 people and leaving six people missing, authorities said.
"It went boom, and then boom again," said Adam Mashia, 65, who lives less than a mile from the plant. "It knocked me to the floor, and as I was getting up it knocked me down again."
About 2,500 residents of nearby homes were evacuated while the fire raged out of control for 5 1/2 hours, but most were allowed to return home later in the day. The fire was under control but still burning, and Shell officials said they planned to let it burn itself out.
Rescue workers were waiting for the fire to go out and the rubble to cool before entering the refinery, said Fred Foster, manager of the Norco-Shell complex. He said there was no speculation on the cause of the explosion.