Fire breaks out at Louisiana refinery; no injuries reported

GARYVILLE, La. — Residents within two miles of a south Louisiana refinery were ordered to evacuate Friday after a fire broke out that sent huge plumes of black smoke into the sky, authorities said.

No injuries were reported.

St. John the Baptist Parish President Jaclyn Hotard ordered the mandatory evacuation of those living near the Marathon Petroleum facility in Garyville as a precaution “even though we have been assured that all impacts are contained to the facility.”

“There's a large smoke plume over the area, and we just want to make sure that our residents are safe,” Hotard said during a news conference. “It's alarming to see what's going on. I understand residents' concerns. It's a little scary. We recommend you take the evacuation seriously in case there are impacts.”

Emergency responders said the fire was contained to the refinery's property, and no injuries have been reported. Air monitoring is also taking place as a precaution, officials said.

According to the company, a storage tank at the facility released naphtha — a partially refined product used as feed stock to make gasoline — and a fire ignited shortly before 7 a.m. Friday.

“We're doing everything possible to get the fire out,” company spokesman Justin Lawrence told reporters. He could not, however, provide a timeline as to when that might occur.

An investigation will be conducted to determine what caused the leak and subsequent fire, officials said in a news release.

Garyville is located about 40 miles (about 64 kilometers) southeast of New Orleans.


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