Refinery Flare ‘Common Safety Procedure’

Monday, October 22, 2018 @ 07:10 PM gHale

Flare flame shoots out of smokestack was alarming to residents, but a safety measure for the Marathon Oil Refinery.
Photo: St. Paul Park Police Department

Neighbors in St. Paul Park, MN, witnessed a giant flame shooting out of a smokestack at the Marathon Oil Refinery and felt there was a major incident going on with its neighbor.

But, in fact, it was a common safety procedure as the refinery was burning off excess gas on Oct. 12 to relieve pressure during a shutdown.

RELATED STORIES
Irving Oil Looks for Cause of Refinery Blast
Chemical Tank Lid Blows, Starts Fire
CT Heat Treating Plant Blaze Accidental
Fire at CT Heat Treating Plant

What startled neighbors was they heard a recorded voice coming from the refinery telling people to evacuate as a giant flame shot out from one of the smokestacks.

“It’s very, very scary,” said neighbor, Kelly Martony. ” I was ready to run.”

It turns out the voice was only speaking to refinery employees working near what is commonly known as a flare – a safety procedure in which excess gas is burned off.

“We had a lot of concerned residents,” said St. Paul Park Police Chief Jessica Danberg.

Danberg added the warning signal must be extra loud for workers to hear it.

“[Residents] hear it because the people in the refinery have ear plugs on [and] are working on very loud equipment,” she said.

Danberg said a real evacuation order for the community will come from police and other emergency responders – not the refinery.

“That will be the use of code red. We will post on facebook pages, door to door,” she said.



Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.