explosion  Irving oil refinery Saint John canada
© Michael Hawkins / Reuters
The scene of the explosion at the Irving oil refinery in Saint John.
Plumes of smoke and explosions have been seen coming from Canada's largest oil refinery as the owners of the Irving Oil site confirm that a 'major incident' is underway at their energy plant in New Brunswick.

Residents near the crude oil processing plant have reported hearing loud explosion coming from the 780 acre site. Meanwhile, eyewitnesses have taken to social media to post images of black smoke rising from an area inside the refinery.

Irving Oil has confirmed that they are responding to a 'major incident' at the Saint John, New Brunswick facility. It's not yet clear what caused the incident.


"We can confirm that a major incident has occurred at our Saint John refinery this morning," it said in a statement. "We are actively assessing the situation at this time and will share more information when available."

Emergency services are at the scene and police have closed down roads in the area.

New Brunswick local Ian Hutchinson was working in a paper mill behind the factory when he heard an explosion.

"The explosion shook the buildings," he told RT.com. "The shake was bad enough I thought something at our site had exploded. We evacuated our site immediately as a precaution."