Marathon Petroleum Garyville Refinery Fire Extinguished Days after Chemical Leak

Data News Staff Edited Report

The massive fire that sent a large column of smoke and flames into the air is finally out at Marathon Petroleum in Garyville.

“The fire has been extinguished,” the company said in a statement Monday morning. “Our response team continues to monitor and maintain control of the impacted area at our Garyville Refinery.”

Residents in a two-mile radius of the sprawling plant on Airline Highway, were evacuated as a precaution after a section of the plant ignited early Friday morning. The blaze started in a containment area near a pair of tanks that stored naphtha which is a component in the production of gasoline.

St. John Parish President Jaclyn Hotard said the nature of the emergency left parish officials with little time to react.

“It’s very different from a small, contained fire to something that’s burning out of control,” Hotard said. “That’s the difficulty in a no notice event that things can go from one extreme to the other without a whole lot of notice.”

Hotard thanked the local firefighters and personnel from Shell and Valero who helped Marathon put out the flames.

“We just want to say thank you to all those brave individuals who had to put themselves potentially in harm’s way to assist the community as a whole,” Parish President Hotard said.

The fire burned so hot, it melted portions of the tanks and left them charred and disfigured.

Friday, St. John Parish President Jaclyn Hotard called the Marathon fire, “alarming.”

“I understand the residents’ concerns, especially for residents who have been here for a long time and have seen different incidents that happen,” Hotard said. “So, it is a little scary.”

People in the community impacted by the incident can call Marathon’s community assistance hotline toll-free at (866) 601-5880. The hotline will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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