A huge fire that erupted inside the ExxonMobil refinery in north Baton Rouge just before midnight Wednesday is now out, officials said.
There were no injuries reported in the fire which officials said was completely extinguished by 7 a.m. Baton Rouge Fire Department spokesman Curt Monte said at a news conference around 1 a.m. that no explosion had occurred and no one was injured. An ExxonMobil spokeswoman said the fire was isolated to the area where it began.
ExxonMobil has been working with the fire department’s hazardous materials unit to monitor air quality in the area, company spokeswoman Megan Manchester told reporters shortly after dawn Wednesday. Results so far have been “below detectable limits,” she said.
“Once deemed safe, our teams will go in to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the root cause of this incident and how we can learn from it,” Manchester said.
“Our response teams did exactly what they’re highly trained to do. They responded, they responded very quickly, so we’re very thankful for that,” she added.
Officials declined to speculate about what could have caused the fire.
Monte said there was no impact beyond ExxonMobil’s property line. He said the company’s volunteer firefighters, who are Exxon employees, are handling the firefighting efforts and hadn’t requested assistance putting out the blaze.
However, the Baton Rouge Fire Department’s hazardous materials team is monitoring air quality readings in the area and as of early Wednesday reported all were below detection limits, officials said.
A representative from the state Department of Environmental Quality was also on scene.
ExxonMobil tweeted around 12:25 a.m. Wednesday fire crews had contained the blaze “to the area where it occurred.”
“We are monitoring air quality at the fence line,” the tweet said.
Baton Rouge’s ExxonMobil facilities had about 7,000 workers in 2018, including contractors. ExxonMobil is the largest manufacturing employer in Louisiana and its Baton Rouge refinery is the fifth largest in the country. It produces gasoline, jet fuel and more, as well as items such as paint and adhesives at the chemical plant.
More than 3,000 worked in the refinery as an employee or contractor, according to the company.