TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Emergency crews are battling a major blaze and chemical leak at a Louisiana oil refinery that has forced residents to evacuate.
On Friday morning, crews were called to the Marathon Petroleum refinery in Garyville, which is located along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Videos from the scene showed a towering plume of smoke with flames shooting dozens of feet into the air. Officials with St. John the Baptist Parish told Nexstar’s WGNO the fire started in a storage tank.
Emergency crews are also working to contain a naphtha release. Naptha is a “refined or partially refined petroleum,” according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Naptha is highly flammable and poses a serious health risk if inhaled, according to a Marathon Petroleum safety sheet obtained by NBC affiliate WDSU. It may cause symptoms like headache, dizziness, tiredness, nausea and vomiting.
Everyone within two miles of the refinery has been ordered to evacuate.
Marathon Petroleum released the following statement, obtained by WDSU:
“Marathon Petroleum personnel and local emergency responders are currently responding to a naphtha release and fire at a storage tank at the company’s Garyville, Louisiana, refinery. The release and fire are contained within the refinery’s property and there have been no injuries. As a precaution, air monitoring has been deployed in the community. No off-site impacts have been detected.
All regulatory notifications have been made. As always, our main priority is to ensure the safety of our employees and contractors, our neighbors within our surrounding community, first responders, and to limit environmental impact. An investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the release.”Marathon Petroleum
The cause of the fire is under investigation.