New Brunswick

Timeline: The Irving Oil refinery explosion

Shortly after 10 a.m. Monday, a "bed-shaking" blast came from the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John that sent flames shooting an estimated 30 metres into the air and a plume of black smoke over most of the east side.

It took emergency officials in Saint John more than an hour to notify the public of the explosion

Irving Oil and Saint John Fire Department crews used steady streams of water and foam on the blaze that broke out at the refinery after an explosion on Monday morning. (Submitted by Joseph Comeau)

10:16 a.m. Monday: Saint John police respond to a "bed-shaking" blast at the Irving Oil refinery that sent flames shooting an estimated 30 metres into the air, and a plume of black smoke over most of the city's east side.  

At 10:58 a.m.: Irving Oil confirms on Twitter that there has been a "major incident" at the refinery but does not provide any other details. 

Irving Oil says a "major incident" has occurred at its Saint John refinery, after reports of an explosion and fire on Monday morning. 0:32

11:19 a.m.: Saint John Mayor Don Darling tweets for the first time about the explosion. "This is obviously a live event … when we know more, you know more. Praying for the safety of all involved."

11:20 a.m.: More than an hour after the explosion, Saint John police notify the public for the first time on Twitter that they are responding to an incident at the Irving refinery and ask people to avoid the area. 

11:25 a.m.: Saint John police sends out a tweet announcing several street closures in the area.

The oil refinery in Saint John. (CBC)

12:40 p.m.: Saint John EMO says in a tweet that fire and police remain at the scene of the "incident" and streets in the immediate area are closed to through traffic.

1:08 p.m.: New Brunswick's Horizon Health Network tweets the Saint John Regional Hospital is on high alert and ready to offer assistance following the explosion. 

Boilermaker Terry MacEachern was rattled by Monday's blast at Irving Oil facility, but is ready to return to the job. 1:31

1:50 p.m.: Horizon Health Network confirms it is treating two patients with non-life-threatening injuries.

2 p.m.: Irving Oil sends tweets that all employees and contractors working on the site are safely accounted for, and several contractors are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The company says the situation is still "active."

2:49 p.m.: Saint John EMO announces the fire at the refinery is under control. Responders remain on scene and emergency officials are monitoring the situation. EMO also says no evacuations are required for residents "at this time."   

3:11 p.m.: Horizon Health Network confirms it has treated five people with injuries from the refinery explosion.

Several Saint John residents reported a 'bed-shaking explosion' at the Irving Oil refinery on the city's east side and black smoke billowed over the area. (Submitted by Joseph Comeau)

3:30 p.m.: Saint John EMO and Irving Oil held a news conference about the explosion at the refinery and their response to the incident. People in the area are told to stay inside. 

5:30 p.m.:​ Saint John police announce all streets are open again. 

6:06 p.m.:​ Saint John EMO says on Twitter the refinery unit has been stabilized and EMO no longer recommends "area residents shelter in place." Saint John Fire Department begins calling back equipment and crews from the site.

6:09 p.m.: Saint John EMO tweets that the Department of Health and the Department of Environment and Local Government are monitoring air quality around the refinery and have not identified any concerns to public health. 

7:06 p.m.: Saint John EMO advises the public of the possibility of flare-ups and says crews are on site monitoring the situation.

10:50 a.m. Tuesday: Irving Oil says "the refinery as a whole is safe and the specific site of the incident is isolated and contained." The company also says there are no concerns about air quality, and the team working on a scheduled maintenance project will be back on the site for the night shift.  

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