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Coastal Desk

Six injured in explosion at Marathon Petroleum in St. John Parish, company says

Marathon Petroleum
Halle Parker
/
WWNO
A security guard sits outside of Marathon Petroleum's Garyville refinery on Monday, Feb. 21, 2022 after an explosion took place earlier that morning.

Six employees were injured after a blast at Marathon Petroleum's Garyville refinery sparked a fire and sent shockwaves felt in surrounding parishes, the company said Tuesday.

The update from Marathon officials was an increase in the number of injuries reported the day of the explosion, when officials had only confirmed one contract worker hurt.

Injuries from Monday morning's explosion were described as "minor," with three people treated onsite and three more sent to a hospital. No deaths from the incident have been reported.

Officials have yet to determine the cause of the blast.

"The safety of responders, employees, contractors and the community are our top priority, and we will conduct a full investigation to determine the cause of the fire," said Jamal Kheiry, a spokesperson for Marathon Petroleum.

Located in the River Parishes in a stretch of industrial area dubbed "Cancer Alley," the Garyville refinery has a crude oil refining capacity of 578,000 barrels per day. The Louisiana facility is also one of the largest refineries in the country.

The plant's firefighters brought the flames under control within a few hours, finally extinguishing it by Monday afternoon. At one point, a portion of the facility was under a shelter-in-place order.

The "all-clear" was given by the incident commander at 4:43 p.m., said Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality press secretary Greg Langley.

The company monitored emissions at the refinery's fence line through the night, Kheiry said. LDEQ's emergency response team also had staff conduct community air monitoring with handheld devices nearby.

No hazardous emission levels were recorded, Kheiry and Langley said.

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