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Explosion and fire at Canada’s largest oil refinery

Fire and smoke at Irving Oil refinery in St. John’s, New Brunswick © Jordan McWILLIAMS/AFP / Jordan McWILLIAMS

Montreal, Canada, Oct 8 – An explosion and fire ripped through Canada’s largest refinery Monday in what the company that owns it called a “major incident.”

Local media said there were only minor injuries reported from the blast and fire at the Irving Oil refinery in St. John’s, New Brunswick.

Images posted on social media networks showed intermittent flames and a column of black smoke rising from the refinery, the country’s largest with a production capacity of 300,00 barrels of refined products a day.

Rob Beebe, who lives near the refinery, told Radio Canada he felt his house shake, followed by a blast.

The company that owns the refinery confirmed on Twitter that a “major incident” occurred there.

“We are actively assessing the situation at this time and will share more information when available,” it said.

The large cloud of black smoke had however dissipated by early afternoon and television images appeared to show the fire under control.

Police maintained a cordon around the plant, which is located in a residential area and close to a regional hospital.

No cause for the explosion had been given in the immediate aftermath of the event.

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