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Originally published Friday, April 2, 2010 at 3:56 PM

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Kathryn Powell, who 'loved her job,' dies of injuries from refinery fire

Kathryn Powell, who died of injuries suffered in Friday morning's fire at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, is remembered as "a wonderful person."

Seattle Times staff reporter

The father of Kathryn Powell, who died of injuries suffered in Friday morning's fire at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, said his daughter was always willing to take on whatever tasks were necessary.

"She's my daughter. She was the love of my life," Ken Powell, of Mount Vernon, said Friday afternoon. "I loved her dearly. She is a wonderful person, she never met a stranger in her life. She enjoyed her work, she loved her job. Every time they needed a volunteer, she was right there."

Kathryn Powell, 28, had worked at Tesoro for two years on the maintenance crew. After the explosion, her father, his wife and his son spent the morning at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where Ms. Powell had been taken by helicopter. But her injuries were too severe.

"She burned to death," he said, adding that she never regained consciousness. "We talked to her, but she never understood.

"It's really hard when you lose a loved one and you don't expect it. It's not an illness when you have time to prepare. When this happens and you don't get to talk with them, it hurts."

Ms. Powell, who lived in Burlington, Skagit County, was engaged to be married. Born in Portland, she moved with her family to Mount Vernon in 1984 and graduated from Mount Vernon High School. She learned about the Tesoro job through her fiancé's father, who encouraged her to apply.

She often cooked big meals of pot roast and other food and took them to work to share with co-workers, her father said. He said his daughter's favorite pastimes included fishing and hanging out with friends.

In addition to her father, "Katy" Powell is survived by her mother, Connie, and brother, Michael Powell, of Anacortes.

Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or sgilmore@seattletimes.com

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