Published: Tue, October 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Saint John oil refinery explosion worries residents

"I heard a loud bang that shook our house and rattled the windows", said Gordon Dalzell, who lives in Saint John near the refinery.

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

There were as many as 3,000 workers on the refinery Monday - but most of the facility was shut down for major maintenance, and almost all of the workers were contractors working on the turn-around.

Saint John police said they are responding to an incident at the refinery and are asking residents to avoid the area altogether.

The refinery is near several residential neighbourhoods about five kilometres from the city core, known as Uptown.

Flames are visible at the scene of a major explosion and fire at the Irving oil refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick October 8, 2018. "Praying for the safety of all involved".

The massive plant can refine as much as 320,000 barrels a day of gasoline, diesel heating oil, jet fuel and other petroleum products.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before a meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China October 8, 2018. Since Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un met in Singapore in June, US-North Korea relations have stalled.

Fire at Irving Oil refinery in Saint John, N.B.

Irving Oil says it is investigating a "major incident" at the refinery, but did not provide details.

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.

We will update as more information becomes available.

"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", Steeves said about an hour and a half later.

Rob Beebe felt the explosion from his apartment on Martha Avenue, a few streets over from the refinery.

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