Firefighters with the Valero Refinery in Meraux, Louisiana, joined with the St. Bernard Parish Fire Department Thursday to extinguish a fire in a silo containing millions of gallons of sugar, local media report.
At about 3:49 p.m., flames were reported at the Domino Sugar in Arabi, American Sugar Refining, Inc. reports.
“The St. Bernard Fire Department was immediately contacted and the refinery was evacuated,” a press release states. “All 130 employees are accounted for and no injuries occurred.”
Emergency responders were already occupied with heavy flooding following the landfall of Hurricane Laura Thursday morning. The parish saw extensive damage in 2005 from Hurricane Katrina.
In St. Bernard Parish responsibility for emergency response is divided between two men named Thomas Stone. At the 135,000-barrels-per-day Valero refinery, the site is protected by a 75-member strong emergency response team under the command of Thomas Stone Jr.
Beyond the refinery gates, everything else emergency related in the parish falls under the purview of Fire Chief Thomas Stone Sr, father of the Valero chief. Stone Sr. participated in an Industrial Fire World webinar on the impact of COVID-19 on firefighting earlier this year.
The fire at Domino Sugar was declared extinguished at 6:30 p.m., ASR reports. The fire suppression system in the silo played a key role in preventing a dust explosion during the fire, local media report.
“The fire service is on-site and carrying out a thermal-imaging assessment in the silos and surrounding buildings to confirm the site is clear,” a press release states