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Massive Fire Rocks Motiva Refinery in St. James Parish

Posted By Arnold & Itkin || 11-Aug-2016

At around 10:50 am this morning, the Motiva refinery in Convent, LA experienced a massive fire in its H-Oil unit. The smoke and flames were visible from miles away, and workers were immediately evacuated from the plant. On-site firefighting personnel responded immediately—the fire was under control in a little more than an hour. Regardles, county responders were standing by.

All employees and contract workers, numbering at about 700 personnel each, were safe and accounted for. The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing. Some speculated that the fire was caused by lightning, as the weather was turbulent and stormy that morning.

However, the Motiva General Manager stated that lighting is an unlikely culprit in this case.

The Motiva refinery produces gasoline, with a daily yield of roughly 230,000 barrels. It’s 1 of 3 Motiva refineries in a 120-mile radius, with facilities in Norco and Port Arthur. Motiva is a joint operation owned by Shell Oil and Saudi Armaco, but earlier this year they announced they would be splitting up.

Motiva is currently monitoring air quality in the region to ensure the safety of workers and residents. Local officials closed Hwy. 70 between Hwys. 3125 and 22 temporarily to ensure driver safety as well.

The refinery company was the subject of an OSHA investigation in 2001 after a boilermaker was killed by a storage tank explosion—a storage tank containing sulfuric acid. The company was fined $175,000 for the death of their employee, and fined $10 million for damage caused to local wildlife.

Arnold & Itkin is glad all the workers have been accounted for. We hope the investigation provides clear answers about the cause of the fire, and necessary steps are taken to prevent it from happening again.

Categories: Fires, Gas Plant Fire

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