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Roughly 75 firefighters helped put out massive overnight fire at ExxonMobil refinery

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BATON ROUGE – A fire at the Exxon Baton Rouge refinery Wednesday morning was big enough that it took a team of highly specialized firefighters about eight hours to contain. Those putting it out included 75 ExxonMobile emergency responders who often go through vigorous training in case something like this happens.

“It is very difficult and it’s something very hazardous to do. But it’s something they train for all the time,” said Carey King, the media contact with LSU Fire and Emergency Training Institute.

King says Exxon members visit their facility often to participate in mock industrial fire training.

“You want to isolate the fire. You want to push the flames back so that people can get in and turn the product off, which would be turning a valve off,” King said.

King says the first thing firefighters are trained to do is create what looks like a wall of water that allows the first responders to isolate the source of the fire.

“You'll have a big rolling fire and they'll have a fog pattern and it’s just a big blanket of water that is pushing the flames away,” he said. “Everyone has to work in perfect unison because if you can imagine that shield, any small break in it can get back around to [the firefighters].”

Wednesday morning Exxon posted online that their emergency responders acted quickly and safely to contain the violent fire. No one was hurt, and there was no off-site impact. King says that outcome is what they train for.

“Anytime that you have a fire that you contain, no loss of life and no danger to the environment, then that's a win in my book,” King said.

Each of ExxonMobil’s 300 emergency responders participate in approximately five training sessions per year. 

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