‘We’re very grateful’: No serious injuries following explosion at Saint John refinery

Click to play video: 'Flames billow into air as Irving Oil refinery fire rages'
Flames billow into air as Irving Oil refinery fire rages
WATCH: Flames billowed into the air on Monday in Saint John, New Brunswick as a fire raged at Irving Oil following reports of an explosion – Oct 8, 2018

There were no serious injuries as a result of an explosion within a Saint John refinery’s diesel-treating unit Monday morning, according to Irving Oil.

In a statement, Irving Oil said that “all employees and contractors working on site have been safely accounted for” and that “several contractors are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.”

The Saint John Police Force said they responded to the refinery at 10:16 a.m. and asked civilians to avoid the area. Residents posted photos and videos of the flames and black smoke, which could be seen from across the city.

Resident Doug Bruce said he was about five or six kilometres away from the refinery at the time of the explosion.

“It felt like a truck had run into the building I was in,” Bruce told Global News.

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WATCH: Explosion reported at Irving Oil in Saint John

Horizon Health said the Saint John Regional Hospital was placed on “high alert” and prepared to offer assistance. The hospital issued an “orange alert,” meaning it was preparing for a possible influx of patients.

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At a news conference at 3:30 p.m., Irving Oil spokesperson Kevin Scott said four people are being treated for minor injuries.

“We’re very grateful today,” Scott said. “With it being Thanksgiving, I think it’s appropriate.”

New Brunswick EMO spokesperson Geoffery Downey confirmed that provincial and regional operations centres were activated. The City of Saint John stated that no evacuations were ordered for residents.

WATCH: Smoke, flames erupt from Irving Oil refinery in Saint John

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Mike Carr, Saint John’s district fire chief, added that no air quality issues have been reported, but the situation is still being monitored.

Police in Saint John continue to ask motorists to avoid the area. As of 5 p.m., Grandview/Bayside and Grandview/Champlain Heights remain closed.

WATCH: Saint John mayor provides details about Irving Oil fire

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant tweeted Monday afternoon that he reached out to Darling, and that both the city and Irving Oil officials are actively assessing the situation.

“On behalf of all New Brunswickers, our thoughts are with the workers affected and … with the community of Saint John,” Gallant tweeted. 

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The Irving Oil refinery employs about 1,400 people and is the largest in Canada. Work at the facility has been halted for the time being.

WATCH: Explosion at Irving Oil refinery shakes Saint John

Click to play video: 'Explosion at Irving Oil refinery shakes Saint John'
Explosion at Irving Oil refinery shakes Saint John

With files from Rebecca Joseph and The Canadian Press. 

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