A significant fire was contained in a storage tank at a refinery in Garyville, Louisiana, about 40 miles west of New Orleans, according to authorities. St. John the Baptist Parish President Jaclyn Hotard lifted a mandatory evacuation order issued Friday morning within a two-mile radius of the facility, according to a statement from the parish.
“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.”
According to the statement, an investigation will be conducted to ascertain the incident’s cause.
The refinery property is safe, according to Marathon Petroleum Corporation, and one firefighter is being evaluated for heat stress.
The “tank itself is not on fire,” said Justin Lawrence, human resources manager for Marathon, at a news conference on Friday, adding that the fire is encircling a tank.
“The product in the tank is naphtha, which is a partially refined product that we use as… gasoline components,” Lawrence explained. “The tank itself is not on fire; rather, the product that surrounds the tank is on fire.”
Lawrence reiterated, “The fire is not within the tank; it is pooling around the tank’s perimeter.”
“Initially, it was a sort of smoldering fire, and we were applying foam to keep the fumes and fire contained,” Lawrence explained. “As the wind picks up and the temperature rises this morning, the fire has reignited in some areas, making them more difficult to control.”.
“As always, our top priority is ensuring the safety of our employees and contractors, our neighbors in the surrounding community, and first responders, as well as minimizing our environmental impact,” said Marathon. “An investigation will be conducted in order to determine the cause of the release.”