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ExxonMobil refinery in Louisiana catches fire

Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Authorities are investigating the cause of a major fire at an ExxonMobil refinery in Louisiana late Tuesday night.

Officials said the fire started at the facility in Baton Rouge just before midnight Tuesday. The refinery, the fifth-largest in the nation, is located near the Mississippi River and produces gasoline, jet fuel and diesel while its chemical plant makes paint, adhesives, plastic milk jugs and other common items.

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The orange blaze illuminated the sky and frightened nearby residents but plant officials said there was no impact for air quality. The fire could be seen for miles.

"The fire was contained to the area where it occurred," ExxonMobil said in a Twitter post. "There are no reported injuries. We are actively monitoring the facility fence line and surrounding areas of the [North Baton Rouge] community. At this point, all readings are non-detect."

ExxonMobil officials said an investigation into the fire will begin when the blaze is out, but ruled out the possibility it was started by an explosion.

"Our focus is on extinguishing the fire as quickly and safely as possible," ExxonMobil spokeswoman Stephanie Cargile said.

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ExxonMobil has long been one of the largest employers in southeastern Louisiana. The company said the refinery has more than 3,000 workers and contractors.

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