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Update: Great Falls refinery operating after fire; no injuries reported

Posted at 3:04 PM, Mar 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-08 15:02:06-05

UPDATE 9:10 p.m.- The fire occurred in a small portion of the Calumet Montana refinery, and the plant is operating, according to a company statement.

Here’s the full statement:

Calumet Montana Refining is open and operating following a fire today. The fire was isolated to a small portion of the plant and the rest of the refinery continues operation. No injuries occurred. While an investigation into the cause of the fire and damage assessment continues, the impact on plant operations and production is limited. Full staff is still reporting to work and working full shifts.
“We are grateful not only to the outstanding efforts of our employees today, but also to the great partners we have in Great Falls Fire Rescue, Black Eagle Volunteer Fire Department and the Great Falls Police Department,” said Plant Manager Wayne Leiker. “Calumet and first responders conduct regular joint safety drills and contingency planning, and the safe and effective response to this incident shows the importance of that training and cooperation. This incident had no negative impact on the safety of our employees or the community.”
The incident occurred around 2pm today and the response by the plant and local authorities was immediate. The fire was quickly contained and then extinguished. By 4pm precautionary road closures were lifted.

Watch this report from MTN’s Shannon Newth and Tim McGonigal here.

UPDATE 3:46 p.m.

Calumet has issued a statement concerning the reported explosion and possible fire at the refinery in Great Falls.

Here is the complete statement from Calumet:

Calumet Montana Refining has confirmed an incident has occurred at their plant. At this time all plant personnel have been accounted for and there are no injuries to report. A perimeter has been established around the plant, and this includes some interruption to traffic. The cause of the incident is under investigation. Calumet’s top priority is the safety of plant staff and the community. Updates will be provided as they are available.

The shelters in place at Sacajawea Elementary School and North Middle School have been lifted. Bus delays are expected. Parents who are picking up their kids from the schools are asked to come in from the west or north.

Some roads around the refinery are still closed at this time. The 15th Street bridge is open in both directions, however, and drivers are asked to use caution while driving in the area.

Road blocks have been lifted on the Old Havre Highway and 25th Avenue NE.

Air quality experts have determined the air to be safe in the vicinity of the refinery.

Great Falls Fire Rescue and the Great Falls Police Department are still on scene.

Click here to see breaking news coverage of the fire from MTN News.

Related: Video extra: Great Falls refinery fire

GREAT FALLS- Emergency crews are responding to a reported explosion and possible fire at the Calumet Refinery along Smelter Avenue in Great Falls.

North Middle School and Sacajawea Elementary Schools have a shelter in place as does the City of Great Falls Animal Shelter.

Anyone who is in the area around the refinery has been asked to shelter in the home or business with windows and doors closed.

Traffic is shut down in the area around the refinery including along the Ninth Street, the Old Havre Highway, and Smelter Avenue.

Courtesy: Relay for LIfe

The establishments around the refinery have been evacuated such as the Montana Club and the Mountain View Co-Ops.

Drivers are asked to avoid the area. Delays are expected.

Responding crews including Great Falls Fire Rescue and the Great Falls Police Department.

This a developing story.