Fire at Louisiana oil refinery sends tower of black smoke into the air, but no injuries reported

Aug 25, 2023, 10:32 AM | Updated: 3:00 pm

GARYVILLE, La. (AP) — A massive fire at a south Louisiana oil refinery sent a tower of black smoke billowing into the air above the Mississippi River on Friday, forcing nearby residents to evacuate for several hours as emergency crews battled the blaze.

No injuries were reported and the fire was under control and contained to two damaged storage tanks by late afternoon, according Marathon Petroleum, which operates the facility in Garyville, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northwest of New Orleans. Air quality monitoring was also taking place, officials said.

Photos from above showed orange flames leaping into the air beneath the dark cloud of smoke as emergency crews sprayed long arcs of water onto the inferno. The fire was burning in an section of the refinery surrounded by wide cylindrical storage tanks. The company said two tanks were damaged.

St. John the Baptist Parish President Jaclyn Hotard said she ordered the mandatory evacuation within two miles of the refinery as a precaution “even though we have been assured that all impacts are contained to the facility.”

“We just want to make sure that our residents are safe,” Hotard said during a news conference. “It’s alarming to see what’s going on. I understand residents’ concerns. It’s a little scary. We recommend you take the evacuation seriously in case there are impacts.”

By 2 p.m., Hotard had lifted the evacuation order. The fire broke out shortly before 7 a.m. when, according to the company, a storage tank at the facility released naphtha — a partially refined product used as feed stock to make gasoline.

Earlier in the day, company spokesperson Justin Lawrence told reporters he couldn’t estimate when the fire might be fully extinguished.

An investigation will be conducted to determine what caused the leak and subsequent fire, officials said in a news release.


This story has been updated to correct that the refinery is northwest of New Orleans, not southeast.

United States News

Tupac Shakur, left, and Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight attend a voter registration ...

Associated Press

Witness charged with murder in 1996 shooting death of rapper Tupac Shakur

One of the last living witnesses to the fatal drive-by shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas was charged with murder Friday in the 1996 killing.

58 minutes ago

Associated Press

A child sex abuse suspect kills himself after wounding marshals trying to arrest him, police say

IRMO, S.C. (AP) — A man wanted by police for child sex abuse crimes shot and killed himself Friday after wounding two federal marshals trying to arrest him at a South Carolina hotel, investigators said. A special team of U.S. Marshals was trying to arrest George Curtis at an extended stay hotel near Columbia when […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Baltimore Archdiocese says it will file for bankruptcy before new law on abuse lawsuits takes effect

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Archdiocese of Baltimore announced Friday that it filed for Chapter 11 reorganization days before a new state law goes into effect removing the statute of limitations on child sex abuse charges and allowing victims to sue their abusers decades after the fact. The step will “allow the archdiocese to equitably compensate […]

2 hours ago

FILE - Jeffrey Clark, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division...

Associated Press

Bail bondsman charged alongside Trump in Georgia becomes the first defendant to take a plea deal

ATLANTA (AP) — A bail bondsman charged alongside former President Donald Trump and 17 others has become the first defendant in the Georgia election interference case to accept a plea deal with prosecutors. Scott Hall pleaded guilty in court on Friday to five counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performance of election duties, […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Navy to start random testing of SEALs, special warfare troops for performance-enhancing drugs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Navy will begin randomly testing its special operations forces for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs beginning in November, taking a groundbreaking step that military leaders have long resisted. Rear Adm. Keith Davids, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, announced the new program Friday in a message to his force, calling it […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Iowa book ban prompts disclaimers on Little Free Library exchanges

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — State restrictions on books that can be made available to Iowa students have prompted some Des Moines-area school districts to post disclaimers on Little Free Libraries. Earlier this year the Iowa Legislature approved a law that bans books that describe sex acts from libraries and classrooms, forcing school districts […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.



At Ability360, every day is Independence Day

With 100 different programs and services, more than 1,500 non-medically based home care staff, a world-renowned Sports & Fitness Center and over 15,000 people with disabilities served annually, across all ages and demographics, Ability360 is a nationwide leader in the disability community.


OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]

Fire at Louisiana oil refinery sends tower of black smoke into the air, but no injuries reported