Refinery Evacuation in St. Paul Park 'Common Safety Procedure'

October 15, 2018 07:12 PM

Neighbors in St. Paul Park witnessed a giant flame shooting out of a smokestack at the Marathon Oil Refinery Friday night. 

The refinery was burning off excess gas to relieve pressure during a shutdown. It is a common safety procedure. 


However, neighbors heard a recorded voice coming from the refinery telling people to evacuate as a giant flame shot out from one of the smokestacks. 

RELATED: Refinery in St. Paul Park Announces Evacuation, Not a Threat to the Public

"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," St. Paul Park Police Chief Jessica Danberg said. 

Danberg added that 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 says 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.


Joe Augustine

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