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  • Writer's pictureStaff @ LT&C

Fire Continues to Smolder at Marathon Petroleum Oil Refinery, Investigation Underway

A storage tank fire that erupted at a Marathon Petroleum oil refinery, prompting a temporary evacuation of nearby residents, remained active as of Saturday, according to a spokesperson's statement.

The incident began on Friday when two massive tanks containing volatility naphtha caught fire at the Garyville, Louisiana plant, enveloping the area in plumes of dark smoke. Firefighters worked diligently to control the blaze, but intermittent flare-ups and smoke hampered the resumption of fuel processing operations, as reported by Marathon.

During the initial response, two emergency responders sustained minor injuries, while ten firefighters experienced heat stress due to the challenging firefighting conditions. The refinery resorted to drawing support from firefighters located in out-of-state plants and local St. John the Baptist responders. Additionally, equipment and supplies were provided by a consortium of twelve other response teams.

The Garyville facility, boasting a capacity of 596,000 barrels per day (bpd) for oil processing, stands as the third-largest oil processing plant in the United States. Situated approximately 38 miles (67 km) to the west of New Orleans, the refinery is a key producer of various products including gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, asphalt, and plastics.

Marathon Petroleum confirmed that it is currently assessing the viability of recommencing operations for the affected units. However, the company did not specify a timeline for when this restoration might take place. An investigation into the cause of the fire will be initiated once the situation allows for safe access and examination.

In light of the incident, air quality monitoring is being conducted jointly by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and an unspecified third party. To provide assistance to the affected residents, Marathon has established a dedicated helpline. Local authorities had temporarily evacuated residents within a two-mile radius of the plant as a precautionary measure.

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