An explosion rocked a Louisiana oil refinery on Monday, rocking homes and businesses as firefighters raced to eliminate the blaze.
One person was injured after the explosion, heard for kilometers around, took place around 9:30 a.m. local time at the refinery in Garyville, Marathon Petroleum said in a statement. Video from the scene shows smoke billowing from the area. Garyville is about 40 miles west of New Orleans and 50 miles southeast of Baton Rouge.
“The fire is under control and all employees and contract workers have been cleared,” company spokesman Joe Gannon said in an email to USA TODAY. “One contract worker was injured and is currently being evaluated at a local healthcare facility as a precautionary measure.”
Air monitoring has been deployed in the community, Gannon said, and local emergency responders have been notified.
“The safety of responders, employees, contractors and the community is our top priority,” he said.
The state’s Bureau of Environmental Quality said some refineries have been placed under a shelter-in-place, and some workers have been moved to a closed area to avoid contamination.
Prior to that, the office of Sheriff Mike Tregre of the parish of St. John the Baptist posted a warning to residents on Facebook: “Please avoid the West Airline and Marathon Ave areas in Garyville due to the incident officials are working on.” A short time later, at about 10:25 a.m., Tregre was fully cleared and the roads were reopened.
Tregre said the explosion and fire were extinguished on the Marathon campus.
The refinery located on the banks of the Mississippi River has a crude refining capacity of 578,000 bpd, according to the company’s website. A major expansion project completed in 2009 increased Garyville’s crude refining capacity, making it one of the largest refineries in the US.