Flare-ups continue, but ‘much of’ Marathon refinery fire is out, St. John officials say

Thick smoke billowed for hours Friday (Aug. 25) from a Marathon Petroleum refinery fire that...
Thick smoke billowed for hours Friday (Aug. 25) from a Marathon Petroleum refinery fire that continued into Saturday.
Published: Aug. 26, 2023 at 9:43 AM CDT
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GARYVILLE, La. (WVUE) - Firefighters continued efforts Saturday (Aug. 26) to extinguish a fire that began one day earlier at a Marathon Petroleum refinery in St. John the Baptist Parish.

Parish officials provided an update Saturday at 9:13 a.m. that said, “While much of the fire has been extinguished, firefighters continue fire-suppression activities to address flare-ups. Intermittent smoke may be seen from the facility during this time.

“Fire suppression will continue until firefighting professionals are confident there is no risk of additional fire.”

The update provided no estimate for how much longer the fire would burn. Officials on Friday said the chemical that ignited was Naphtha, a compound that when blended with other materials produces high-grade motor gasoline or jet fuels.

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More than three hours after two refinery tanks began burning, sending dark smoke billowing from the facility around 7 a.m. on Friday, parish officials called for an evacuation of residents within a two-mile radius of the plant. That precautionary order was lifted Friday around 2:20 p.m.

Saturday’s update from the St. John parish government said there is no public threat, despite continuing smoke from flare-ups.

“Air monitoring continues in the community as a precaution and has indicated no air quality impacts,” the statement said. “All air monitoring has and continues to indicate non-detectable air quality impacts to the community. Air monitoring is being conducted in the community by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and a third-party contract company.”

A toll-free number is available 24 hours a day for any community members who have been impacted by the incident and have a claim. The number is (866) 601-5880.

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