Massive fire extinguished at ExxonMobil’s north Baton Rouge refinery; here’s what we know

    ExxonMobil officials are trying to determine the root cause of a fire that erupted in the company’s north Baton Rouge refinery shortly before midnight Wednesday.

    The fire was completely extinguished by 7 a.m. and there were no injuries, according to first responders and company officials. However, the full scope of the damage caused by the fire—as well as its impact on Exxon operations—won’t be known until an internal investigation is complete.

    “Once the immediate area is deemed safe, then we will conduct an investigation to determine the root cause,” says Danny Lee, a public affairs adviser for ExxonMobil, in a text message. “All findings will be incorporated into learnings for continuous improvement.”

    The Baton Rouge Fire Department’s hazardous materials team said early Wednesday that all air quality readings were below detection limits, though officials will continue monitoring the readings.

    In the meantime, officials decline to speculate as to what could have caused the fire.

    The blaze, while contained to the area where it occurred, reportedly cast an orange glow that was visible to observers from miles away, lighting up the night sky.

    At the time, Lee told Daily Report that all Exxon’s volunteer firefighters, who are company employees, were responding to the fire, while company representatives were monitoring the facility fence line and surrounding areas of the north Baton Rouge community.

    It’s been just over 30 years since the refinery experienced a series of explosions during a 1989 cold snap—an incident that killed two people.

    The company’s north Baton Rouge refinery has been in the city since 1909. Today, it sits on about 2,100 acres of land on Scenic Highway near the Mississippi River, making it the fifth-largest oil refinery in the U.S. and the thirteenth largest in the world.

    Officials say additional information will be released as soon as it becomes available.

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