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Refinery Fire Sparks Mandatory Evacuation in St. John the Baptist Parish

Posted on August 25, 2023 in

A yet-to-be-controlled fire at a Louisiana Marathon refinery in Garyville has resulted in a mandatory evacuation of a significant swath of St. John the Baptist Parish. Residents within a two-mile radius of the massive blaze at the Garyville Marathon refinery have been ordered by Parish officials to evacuate the area until further notice. Schools in the zone have been evacuated as well. According to Parish President Jaclyn Hotard, the large-scale evacuation is necessary as the result of the fire and a potentially toxic black plume spreading outward from the facility, all of which she candidly describes as “alarming.”

In addition to the mandatory evacuation in the two-mile zone, residents within an additional three miles have been advised to stay indoors until further notice. The advisement includes a recommendation that windows remain closed and that air conditioning units or systems be turned off for the time being.

Louisiana Marathon Refinery Fire & Toxic Smoke Plume Caused by Hazardous Chemical

Preliminary reports from the Garyville Marathon refinery indicate that the fire started as a result of the unintended release of a chemical called naphtha or naphthalene from a containing unit on the grounds of the facility. As of noon central time, the cause of the unintentional and dangerous release of the hazardous chemical has not been released to the public. The possibility exists that there could have been some sort of explosion in or around the containing unit. In the alternative, some type of structural failure may have also been the cause of the release of the naphtha and the resulting blaze.

Naphtha is used to make gasoline, according to officials from the Louisiana marathon refinery. The chemical is toxic and can cause respiratory problems and lung damage. Depending on the level of exposure to naphtha, other health risks are also a possibility.

Pronouncements from Garyville Marathon Refinery Officials Appear to Contradict Facts

Justin Lawrence, a spokesman from the Louisiana Marathon refinery in St. John the Baptist Parish, announced that the danger had been contained to the grounds of the facility. He also described the fire started at the container on site as a “lazy flame.”

In fact, the toxic smoke plume has now extended well beyond the confines of the refinery property. Moreover, if for some reason the initial fire at the refinery was a so-called “lazy flame,” the fire was out of control not long after it started. As of early afternoon, the fire at the St. John the Baptist Parish Marathon refinery remains out of control.

In addition, an unknown number of Garyville Marathon refinery workers have been exposed to airborne toxins since the naphthalene fire broke out at the facility. At this time, it is also not known what steps the company has (or has not) taken to protect its workers during this emergency.

Numerous local fire departments have been called to the refinery to fight the blaze. According to the Marathon spokesman, firefighters and refinery personnel “are doing everything possible to get the fire out.”

Health Risks of Exposure to Naphthalene

In addition to causing lung damage, exposure to naphthalene can also result in harm to the liver and kidneys. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency and World Health Organization have both classified naphthalene as carcinogenic. Exposure to the chemical has the potential to cause cancer, according to these agencies and other researchers.

The Doan Law Firm is Monitoring the Developing Situation

The experienced team at The Doan Law Firm is monitoring the situation at the Louisiana Marathon Refinery. The firm has established a Louisiana Marathon refinery fire lawyer telephone line at (800) 349-0000. Residents of St. John the Baptist Parish and other impacted individuals can contact the firm any time of the day or night.

A no-cost, no-obligation consultation can be arranged to address any questions or concerns that you may have about the health consequences of the Garyville Marathon refinery fire as well as other associated issues. The experienced Doan Law Firm refinery accident attorney will continue to monitor developments in St. John the Baptist Parish for as long as necessary.

The Doan Law Firm never charges an attorney fee unless we win your case for you.