Irving Oil says a “major incident” has occurred at its Saint John refinery, after reports of an explosion and fire on Monday morning.
Saint John police said they are responding to an incident at the refinery and are asking residents to avoid the area altogether. Nearby streets have also been closed.
The blast happened Monday morning. Police were warning residents to stay clear of the area.(Photo: Submitted)
“We can confirm that a major incident has occurred at our Saint John refinery this morning,” Irving Oil said on Twitter. “We are actively assessing the situation at this time and will share more information when available.”
The following streets are closed: Loch Lomond at Commerce, Grandview at Champlain, Grandview at Bayside, and Loch Lomond at Macdonald.
Several photos on social media showed flames at the refinery. Fire officials were said to be aware of the situation.
Saint John Mayor Don Darling said on Twitter: “This is obviously a live event … when we know more, you’ll know more. Praying for the safety of all involved.”
Bob McVicar, a resident in the New Brunswick city, posted on Facebook that it felt like a “bed-shaking explosion.”
The fire is being attacked from all sides. An ambulance with sirens just left the main refinery entrance on Loch Lomond Rd. Traffic blocked in all directions. <a href=”https://t.co/MUsm4cJjKo”>pic.twitter.com/MUsm4cJjKo</a>
Residents across the city reported feeling the effects of the explosion.
Mark Melanson and Jocelyn Legassie were sitting at the Tim Hortons on Hickey Road, about three kilometres away from the refinery, when they heard a popping sound.
They looked outside the window and saw black smoke and flames exceeding the height of the stacks at the refinery.
Melanson said he has seen explosions like this on YouTube at oil refineries around the world, but never seen anything like this in Saint John.
“I’ve lived in Saint John for 30 years and this is the first time I’ve seen something like this happen here.”
Rob Beebe felt the explosion from his apartment on Martha Avenue, a few streets over from the refinery.
“We felt the entire building move as if it wobbled,” Beebe said.
Very serious fire currently underway at the Irving Oil Refinery. <a href=”https://t.co/te8X4Xl6Tw”>pic.twitter.com/te8X4Xl6Tw</a>
When he walked outside, he noticed black smoke coming from the refinery, so he hopped into the car, drove down the corner and saw fire about 30 metres high.
“We’re sitting here and watching it burn right now,” he said. “It’s getting larger.”
When CBC News asked New Brunswick’s Horizon Health Network whether any injuries have been reported, a spokesperson responded they are working on getting a response.Credits belong to : www.cbc.ca