Explosion and fire at Canada's largest oil refinery

Clay Curtis
October 9, 2018

Irivng Oil said in a statement: "We can confirm that a major incident has occurred at our Saint John refinery this morning".

The company says officials are assessing the situation, but details are now few.

Photos shared on social media showed plumes of black smoke ascending into the sky over the refinery.

Bob McVicar, a resident in the New Brunswick city, posted on Facebook that it felt like a "bed-shaking explosion".

Saint John police are responding as are fire officials.

An explosion shook the city of Saint John, New Brunswick, after a "major incident" at an Irving Oil refinery.

The local refinery is a North Atlantic facility and it is still running with no issues, so he doesn't anticipate any disruptions locally.

He said he heard emergency vehicles heading toward the scene, but didn't say how many.

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"From where I was, you could see flames - I would expect they were about a hundred feet in the air - and you've got a huge plume of black smoke", he said about an hour and a half later.

Irving Oil said it would release more information when it became available. "I heard a rumbling, roaring sound".

"I've lived in Saint John for 30 years and this is the first time I've seen something like this happen here".

"We're sitting here and watching it burn right now", he said.

He made a decision to drive by the refinery, and said he was nearby when he felt the vibrations of what he assumed must be a second explosion.

Residents that live near the refinery reported that they felt their houses shaking; not like an natural disaster, but as if "a truck had driven into the house", resident Heather Adams told The Globe and Mail.

The explosion at around 10 a.m. touched off a fire and sent thick, black smoke pouring into the air.

At this time, no injuries or fatalities have been reported.

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