Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Explosion, fire at Canada’s largest oil refinery

Explosion, fire at Canada’s largest oil refinery

The refinery is near several residential neighborhoods on Saint John's east side. Irving Oil confirmed Monday that a "major incident" occurred at its refinery.

According to posts on Facebook, people living nearby reported a "bed-shaking explosion" at around 10:15 a.m.

It wrote: "We can confirm that a major incident has occurred at our Saint John refinery this morning".

The source said he believed the explosion was within the section of the plant that houses the hydrogen unit.

More than half of that is exported to the United States, with the refinery being one of the most important in terms of importing fuel to the Northeast.

The massive plant can refine as much as 320,000 barrels a day of gasoline, diesel heating oil, jet fuel and other petroleum products.

"There was thick, pitch black smoke mixed with white smoke", said Guimond.

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"I heard a rumbling, roaring sound", Guimond said.

Saint John police said they are responding to an incident at the refinery and are asking residents to avoid the area altogether.

They looked outside the window and saw black smoke and flames exceeding the height of the stacks at the refinery. Streets in the area have been closed as authorities monitor the situation.

Rob Beebe felt the explosion from his apartment on Martha Avenue, a few streets over from the refinery.

Steeves said the incident reminded him of a similar event in the late 90s, when the same refinery suffered a similar explosion which left one person dead.

"Just seeing the clouds, and what they've got closed off, it just seems to be a pretty similar level of event", he said.

We will update as more information becomes available.

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