According to CNBC, there were five minor injuries in the explosion, which sent a towering fireball through the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery at 4:22 a.m. local time Friday (June 21). They also said the air was safe to breathe.
The refinery complex processes roughly 335,000 barrels of crude oil per day, about 14 million USA gallons, and is one of the largest refineries on the east coast, according to the company's website.
The fire is contained on the property off Passyunk Avenue of the refinery, fire officials said shortly before 6 a.m. The fire can not be placed under control because of the propane and butane that's burning in the Value-Added Tax, which is being fed by a main. Jonathan Triboletti saw the blaze on a freeway while heading to the airport and posted a video to Twitter of a huge fireball shooting into the sky. Smaller explosions ignited as the fire reached other fuel pipes across the complex.
The crude section at the Girard Point portion of the refinery was shut down due to the fire, intelligence provider Genscape said. "There were no significant injuries", a company spokeswoman said.
By mid-afternoon, the city's fire department was working with PES in its response to the fire, though it was letting the flammable gases burn under control.
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Plant and city firefighters were cooling down nearby tanks to prevent Friday's fire from spreading.
The cause of Friday's fire was still unclear late Friday morning. "The fire is now different from when we got here".
One resident who lives next to the complex said, "I thought it was a meteor or something" after seeing the mushroom cloud rising from the facility.
Triboletti said he even felt the heat in the auto.
It turns out, you did not need to be at close range to see the big bang, though. The 150-year old refinery sits in the river basin that has historically been a major commercial center along the DE river, but grew to become the center of oil refining operations in the eastern U.S. and is a major purchaser of oil extracted from the North Sea region of Europe and West Africa. "So this is a disruption, but it's probably not going to cause major problems in a market that is generally well supplied".