April 5, 2023
International-Matex Tank Terminal employees and St. Charles Parish emergency officials were responding to a fire in the afternoon of April 3 at the company's St. Rose facility that hospitalized two contract employees, a company spokesperson said.
"At approximately 1:45 p.m. this afternoon, International-Matex Tank Terminals experienced a fire impacting an out-of-service aboveground tank at its St. Rose, La., storage terminal," David LaPlante said in a news release. "IMTT personnel are currently working with local authorities to get the fire extinguished."
"Two contractors sustained injuries and are being assessed and treated at a local hospital," he said. "All personnel on-site have been accounted for. The company immediately activated its emergency response plan and notified the appropriate officials and agencies."
A spokesperson with the state Department of Environmental Quality said the fire occurred in a tank that normally contains 2,500 barrels of crude oil, but contained only residuals after being emptied. "A flash fire occurred, causing two people getting injured and air-evacuated out," said Gregory Langley. "The nearby railroad has been shut down due to close proximity."
Langley said smoke from the fire is settling low in the atmosphere and blowing toward a wooded area, but does not seem to pose a threat to the public. Officials are monitoring the smoke's potential movement toward Interstate 310, which will be shut down if necessary, he said.
At 8 p.m., responders were still fighting two active fire spots, and a 12-inch foam sprayer had just arrived for assistance, Langley said, and smoke blowing offsite from the fire has shifted from the northeast to due north.
Nearby storage tanks were being cooled to prevent a spread of the fire, and runoff from the water used to fight the blaze was being contained onsite.
LaPlante said IMTT officials are monitoring air quality near the facility and also don't anticipate off-site impacts. "The company is investigating the cause of the fire," he said.
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