October 18, 2018
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Explosion at Irving Oil refinery shakes New Brunswick city

An explosion shook the city of Saint John, New Brunswick, after a “major incident” at an Irving Oil refinery, but caused no fatalities.

City officials said that the fire at the refinery was under control Monday afternoon and first responders remained at the scene

Irving said early Monday afternoon that all employees and contractors at the refinery were accounted for. Five people with injuries from the explosion were treated at Saint John Regional Hospital, and all have been released, Horizon Health Network said in a statement.

Saint John police responded Monday morning, and they advised residents to avoid the area.

Irving said Monday morning that a “ major incident” had occurred at its Saint John refinery.

Residents across Saint John reported feeling the explosion, with some calling it “bed shaking,” according to CBC.

Litsa Daeres, 34, who lives nearby, said she had just started preparing for a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner when she heard a “loud bang.”

“My whole house shook,” she said. “I thought my furnace had exploded.”

Daeres said she opened her curtains and saw flames and thick, black smoke.

Photos shared on social media showed plumes of black smoke ascending into the sky over the refinery. Flames were still visible later in afternoon, and there were four separate sources of water being poured on the blaze.

New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization spokesman Geoffrey Downey said no evacuation orders had been issued, but there was an “order to shelter in place for anyone living in the direction of the plume.”

Nate Guimond, 36, said he was doing house repairs when he saw smoke.

“I heard a rumbling, roaring sound,” Guimond said.

He decided to drive by the refinery and said he was nearby when he felt the vibrations of what he assumes must have been a second explosion.

Some roads near the refinery remained closed Monday afternoon, but no evacuations were ordered for residents living nearby.

It was not immediately clear what facilities at the plant were affected.

The plant has the capacity to refine 320,000 barrels per day of gasoline, diesel heating oil, jet fuel and other petroleum products, according to CNBC. Irving Oil exports more than half of that to the United States, and the refinery is a critical source of fuel for the Northeast energy market, CNBC reported.

Crude oil and gasoline futures moved higher after reports of the explosion, according to CNBC.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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