GARYVILLE, La. (AP) - Fire broke out at a Marathon Oil Corp.
refinery in southern Louisiana early Sunday and burned for over
four hours in the plant's crude oil unit. There were no injuries.
A malfunctioning electric transformer caught fire about 4:30
a.m., said company spokeswoman Gretchen Plewak.
Plewak said a malfunctioning electric transformer caught fire
about 4:30 a.m., cutting out all power to the refinery. Ten minutes
later, a line coming out of a crude processing unit opened,
starting a much larger fire.
It damaged an area Plewak described as the mainstay of the
The refinery will remain shut down until a damage assessment is
completed and officials decide what can be safely operated, Plewak
No serious injuries were reported, however more than three dozen
people were treated at hospitals after complaining of nausea,
burning eyes, problems breathing, and other symptoms often related
to chemicals in the air.
The refinery, about 25 miles northwest of New Orleans, was
acquired in 1977 to produce gasoline to meet the standards for cars
with catalytic converters. It can produce 255,000 barrels a day of
gasoline and distillate fuels such as propane and butane.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)