A large fire and a series of explosions shook up a South Philadelphia refinery complex, the largest on the East Coast, Friday morning.
What We Know:
- A vat of butane ignited at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refinery causing an explosion that jolted people awake several miles away from the scene, but no major injuries were reported, according to NBC Philadelphia. From Pennsylvania to New Jersey, people reported their homes shaking.
- City emergency management issued a shelter-in-place for the area surrounding the complex. It was later lifted. Officials have not released the details about what caused the fire. One of the blasts was so large that the GOES-16 meteorological satellite recorded it from space.
- The fire was contained on the property before 6 a.m., according to fire officials. At a news conference, Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy said workers were on site during the explosion but were far enough away to avoid serious harm. Four refinery staff workers suffered minor injuries and were treated at the site.
- Peter DeCarlo, a professor at Drexel University and air quality expert, warned that the smoke could be dangerous and advised people to leave the area for as much of the day as possible. However, the city Department of Health said in a series of tweets that they measured the air and had “no findings that would point to any immediate danger in the surrounding community at this time.”
- These explosions and the fire come almost two weeks after a similar incident at the complex. A small fire broke out at the refinery on June 10. No one was hurt, but environmentalists and community members, who were concerned about the plant’s safety, protested.
A previous fire occurred at the same complex in 2015.
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) June 21, 2019