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Fire breaks out at Domino Sugar Refinery in Arabi

Updated: Aug. 27, 2020 at 4:58 PM CDT
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ARABI, La. (WVUE) - The Domino Sugar Refinery caught fire on Thursday, August 27.

Witnesses say that large flames can be seen coming from the plant.

A worker said that a sugar silo, that holds millions of gallons of the product, caught fire. The witness said he believed the fire suppression system stopped the fire from turning into an explosion.

It’s unclear what started the fire. The flames started mid-afternoon and smoke billowed from the refinery into the evening hours.

The Domino Sugar Refinery, located near the Mississippi River, opened in 1909. It is owned by the ASR group and is the second-largest cane sugar refinery in the world.

Over 2 billion pounds of sugar cane is manufactured at the refinery every year. This location is one of three refineries where the sugar is made, the other two locations are in Baltimore and Yonkers, NY.

The facility is more than a million and a half square feet under roof and employs around 400 people, plus contractors.

The refinery flooded during Katrina and reopened 98 days later, which earned it the nickname the “Can Do Refinery”.

American Sugar Refining, Inc released the following statement about the incident:

A sugar silo at the Chalmette Refinery in Arabi was reported on fire at 3:49 pm on Thursday. The St. Bernard Fire Department was immediately contacted and the refinery was evacuated.  All 130 employees are accounted for and no injuries occurred.

The fire was extinguished with additional assistance from the Valero Refinery Fire Department at approximately 6:30 pm. The fire service is on-site and carrying out a thermal-imaging assessment in the silos and surrounding buildings to confirm the site is clear.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.”

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