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Fire at Valero refinery in Meraux, 8 taken to hospital

A resident of the area reported hearing a loud boom and then saw black smoke coming from the area.

NEW ORLEANS — Two workers and six contractors at the Valero refinery in Meraux  were taken to the hospital for evaluation and the highway around the plant was closed due to a fire at the location Saturday evening.

The condition of the injured workers was not given.

A statement from Valero said the fire broke out about 5:15 p.m. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

"Our primary concern is for the injured workers and safety of the surrounding community," said the statement. "As a precaution, to assure the safety and health of the community, air monitoring is underway."

A couple of residents contacted WWL-TV to say they heard a boom and then saw black smoke at the time of the fire.

A photo and video from the residents showed what appeared to be a mix of black and white smoke going into the sky.

The St. Bernard Firefighters Local 1468 posted on Instagram that firefighters were on the scene all evening. They posted a photo that showed flames along with the black smoke. 

Here's the post:

Members of St Bernard Firefighters that were on duty today along with members who were called in, have been on scene all evening fighting a fire at the Valero Meraux Refinery, We ask that you keep our members in your thoughts and prayers along with the injured refinery workers.

St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis said that East St. Bernard Highway was shut down in the area of the refinery and will remain closed as the product is burned off. That is expected to take place later this evening.  

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