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Friday, February 23, 2024

Marathon Petroleum refinery fire in Louisiana under control, evacuation order lifted

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A significant fire that erupted at the Marathon Petroleum refinery in Garyville, Louisiana, has been successfully contained, leading authorities to lift the evacuation orders previously imposed within a two-mile radius of the site. Marathon Petroleum refinery fire in Louisiana under control, evacuation order lifted.

The fire reportedly originated from a naphtha leak in a storage tank at the facility. Naphtha, a crucial component used in gasoline production, prompted authorities to swiftly implement precautionary measures due to its flammable nature. While smoke billowed, revealing flames underneath, water played a vital role in bringing the inferno under control. Fortunately, no injuries have been reported at the scene, and air quality monitoring has shown no cause for concern.

Situated in a region known as “Cancer Alley,” notable for its concentration of chemical industries and refineries. The refinery lies northwest of New Orleans along the Mississippi River. The fact that emergency exercises had been conducted in the area to train responders for such incidents is encouraging, given the potential risks.

Collaborating with the Louisiana State Police, local firefighters tackled the blaze. At its peak, a column of black smoke was visible. While the fire was initially brought under control, it later reignited due to rising temperatures. One firefighter reportedly experienced heat stress and is currently under evaluation.

As investigations into the fire’s cause continue, Marathon Petroleum underscores its commitment to safety and minimizing environmental impacts. The company reassures that no off-site effects were detected, and the fire was contained within the refinery’s premises.

This event, occurring unfortunately after another recent fire at Dow Chemical’s Plaquemine facility, underscores the importance of stringent safety measures and preparedness in such unstable circumstances. However, with no reported injuries and the swift response of emergency services, the Marathon Petroleum fire can be considered effectively managed despite the challenging conditions.

“The fire is not within the tank,” emphasized Lawrence. “It is around the perimeter where the naphtha is pooling.”

Lawrence further explains, “Initially, it was a slow flame, and we applied foam to contain the gasses and flames. It rekindled this morning as temperatures rose, and certain areas have proven more difficult to control.”

Ensuring the fire is extinguished as quickly as possible remains the current priority, according to Lawrence.

While most of the fire has been extinguished, firefighters are still actively suppressing flare-ups, as stated on Friday night by St. John the Baptist Parish. Occasional smoke may still be visible from the site. Fire suppression efforts will persist until firefighters are confident that the threat of new fires has been completely eliminated.

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