ANACORTES, Wash. (AP) _ A deadly explosion shook an oil refinery Wednesday afternoon, sending a plume of smoke into the air.

Skagit County Coroner Bruce Bacon told KING-TV there were multiple deaths. He would not disclose the number.

Equilon Puget Sound Refining Co. spokesman Robert Todd said the blast occurred about 1:30 p.m. He said a fire was under control and ``we're continuing to respond.''

Witnesses told KIRO-TV the sky filled with black smoke and several people felt the ground shake.

Equilon was formed in January 1998 as a joint venture that combines major elements of Texaco's and Shell's Midwestern and Western U.S. refining and marketing businesses.

Anacortes is about 60 miles north of Seattle.