First Person: Marathon Madness; Marathon petroleum plant fire was a scary situation

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, September 5, 2023

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It was a typical Friday in first period. I was doing school work, learning about how to build a website and taking a quiz until, suddenly, black covered the sky.

During the first period of my school day, everything was normal. I was going through my routine and taking a quiz, and then my teacher, Mrs. Lyons, said that one of Marathon’s tanks had blown up and was smoking up the air profusely. My first thought went to the wildfires in Maui because their fires never stopped and took out the whole island. Over the past three weeks, we have been in record-breaking heat. Due to all of this the fires were not able to be put out as easily.

I was very nervous because it was a Friday night and we had a football game. Our football coach came to tell us there was an evacuation plan underway. We lined up all the classes in the hallway to get on buses and cars to evacuate to East St. John High School. I ended up getting in a car with our cornerback coach with three other people.

Initially, I was excited because I was getting out of school and that took my mind off the bad stuff that could be happening. When we got to the high school, they brought us into the gym and we sat down in the bleachers. As I was walking into the gym I saw elementary kids and middle schoolers crying and very worked up about the situation. They let our parents come to pick us up from the school and people got called out one by one.

I began to become anxious about what was going to happen with the football game because I saw all of my coaches talking. A couple of my friends and I got picked up by my mother and we rode back to my house. The first thing I did was turn on the local news to see about the situation, and from what I saw it looked like it was beginning to  calm down, which soothed my nerves.

My friends and I were blowing up the coach’s phone to see if we were still on for the game. About an hour before we had to go we got the green light to go on campus and get our stuff. We made the trip across the lake and played Bogalusa in the jamboree.  I was blinded about what had been happening at Marathon at this point. All  my focus was on football.

Saturday morning I still saw smoke coming from the plant and realized that everything wasn’t back to normal yet.

By Sunday the smoke had cleared and I was relieved. I learned a few things from this situation: Don’t take any day for granted. Protect your family. My teachers and staff have our backs. And that no matter what happens God has a plan.

Noah Trepagnier, Sports Editor

Noah Trepagnier, a senior, is a second year journalism student. He is a lineman on the Riverside football team and was a state qualifier in track. He wants to pursue a career in sports journalism.