Marathon Petroleum closes refinery following Friday fire

Smoke and flames rise from a refinery storage tank in Garyville, Louisiana.


Marathon Petroleum shut down its refinery in Garyville, Louisiana after a large fire erupted at a storage tank on Friday.

Businesses and homes within a two-mile radius were evacuated but within a few hours, the fire was under control with no injuries reported. A statement by the St. John the Baptist Parish indicated the mandatory evacuation order was lifted.

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“The fire is currently under control and has remained within the common containment-dike area of two tanks on the refinery’s property,” the statement said. “Both tanks have sustained damage.”

Marathon Petroleum indicated the cause was not determined and an investigation was underway. Company spokesman Justin Lawrence told reporters the tank was not on fire.

“The product in the tank is a naphtha product, which is partially refined product that we use it as … components to make gasoline,” Lawrence said. “The tank itself is not on fire; it is the product surrounding the tank.”

Lawrence reiterated, “The fire is not in the tank, it is around the perimeter where the naphtha is pooling.”

“Initially it was kind of a lazy flame and we were putting foam on it to keep the fumes and the fire down to keep it contained,” Lawrence explained, according to a report by CNN.

“As it picks up and this morning as the day gets hotter, it did reignite and there’s been spots where it is harder to control.”