An explosion in a refinery processing unit Friday morning in Meraux, Louisiana, released a concussion loud enough that it shook homes in Algiers on the opposite side of the Mississippi River.
St. Bernard Parish Fire Chief Thomas Stone told reporters that the blast occurred at the 135,000-barrels-a-day Valero refinery at about 1 a.m., triggering a small fire. Parish firefighters, working with the refinery fire brigade, brought the flames under control within several hours.
Chief of the 75-member strong emergency response team at Valero is Thomas Stone Jr., the St. Bernard Parish chief’s son.
No flames were visible from the refinery by 5 a.m., although firefighter remained on the scene in case flames rekindled.
Stone said that one person suffered an injury not considered life threatening but did not elaborate further.
WGMB identified the unit involved in the explosion as a hydrocracker, which processes crude into gasoline via a hydrogen addition process.
The refinery is on 550 acres and converts crude oil and other feedstocks into transportation fuels and other byproducts. It has the capacity of 135,000 barrels per day.