Oil Refinery Fire, Residents Express Health Concerns

Published 9:44 am Monday, August 28, 2023

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Firefighting crews worked to suppress flare-ups as a fire at a Louisiana oil refinery started on Friday along the Mississippi River. Residents in the vicinity have expressed worries about potential health effects caused by the fumes and dense smoke.

Marathon Petroleum, the company operating the refinery, stated in an email on Saturday that tests conducted thus far have shown “non-detectable air quality impacts” resulting from Friday’s fire. The state’s Department of Environmental Quality and a third-party contractor are conducting ongoing tests to assess the air quality.

According to Marathon Petroleum, two individuals were injured, and ten others were evaluated for heat stress due to the fire. The incident damaged two large storage tanks used for naphtha, a critical component in the production of gasoline and jet fuels.

The fire, which emitted orange flames and thick smoke on Friday, forced evacuations within a 2-mile (3-kilometer) radius of the facility in Garyville, situated approximately 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of New Orleans.