Torrance police

Flares at Torrance Refinery Caused By Power Fluctuation

Residents took to social media to ask if a large fire was burning after smoke billowed into the air

A major boulevard in Torrance was closed after a "flaring event" caused by a brief power fluctuation at the ExxonMobil Refinery was producing a large amount of heat.

Torrance police shut down Del Amo Boulevard between Maple Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard after a large flare, which looked like a fire burning from afar, was producing excessive heat at the refinery. Road barriers were also placed at the intersections of Crenshaw and 190th Street as well as Crenshaw and Del Amo Boulevards.

Police said the flaring had subsided enough that they were able to reopen Crenshaw Boulevard at 1:25 a.m.  Del Amo Boulevard reopened at about 11 a.m.

Torrance police was also concerned about the smoke not dissipating due to a thick marine layer above. The flare was spotted just before 6 p.m.

SoCal Edison workers found a Mylar, or metallic, balloon on lines that go directly to the refinery, but authorities did not immediately confirm the balloon caused the fluctuation, which involves changes in voltage.

The Torrance Fire Department said the burn-off was not planned. The refinery had to report a flaring notification to the South Coast Air Quality District.

Residents were taking to social media to report smoke and fire in the air.

The flaring event comes after a massive explosion at the Torrance refinery on Feb. 18, 2015 when residents for miles around had to grapple with ash, a gas odor and concerns over poor air quality, as well as a surge in gas prices.

Correction: A previous version of this article indicated a power outage led to the flaring event. Utility officials tell NBC4 there was a power fluctuation, but no outage.

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