UPDATE: Minor injuries in Saint John, N.B., blast

SAINT JOHN, N.B. - Emergency measures officials say there were believed to be only ``a couple'' minor injuries from the massive oil refinery explosion that shook Saint John, N.B., this morning.

Geoffrey Downey of the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization said none of the injuries were believed to be serious ``at this point.''

The explosion at an Irving Oil refinery on the city's eastern side set a fire and sent thick, black smoke pouring into the air.

Residents of the area described feeling an explosion shortly after 10 a.m., and noted that flames and smoke could be seen from a great distance.

A local hospital had issued an ``orange alert,'' meaning it was preparing for a possible influx of patients, while the City of Saint John advised residents to shelter in place.    

Irving Oil did not provide any details about the incident, saying it would release more information when it became available.