A shock wave was felt several miles away after an explosion started a fire at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery.
The crude oil processing complex is located at 3144 Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia and the powerful blast frightened the inhabitants of the surrounding area and still keeps them dismayed.
The blaze began today early morning and according to local media it would be the second of its kind, because eleven days ago, Philadelphia Energy Solutions, which processes 335,000 barrels of crude oil daily, suffered another fire.
The authorities asked people located east of the fire zone to shelter in place.
Some I-76 sections and the city’s Platt Bridge were shut down, according to the City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management.
The facility is the tenth largest in the U.S. and it is the largest oil refining complex on the east coast, according to its website. Philadelphia Energy Solutions employs more than 1,000 people and refines 335,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
Some local media have described the incident as a “fire that ravaged Pennsylvania’s oil refinery,” but there are still no expert data available to support the plausibility of this data.
The crude section at the Girard Point of the refinery was shut down due to the fire, said Genscape, a data provider of the energy sector.
Philadelphia Energy Solutions spokespeople were not immediately available for comment.
NBC Philadelphia said that nearby highways were closed and dense smoke covered most of central and southern Philadelphia. “Philadelphia Fire Department is asking residents and businesses east of the fire location in south Philadelphia to shelter in place until further notice,” the City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management wrote on Twitter.
Three fire stations and a team specialized in hazardous materials were mobilized, a fire department official said.
Update: The Schuylkill Expressway I-76 has been reopened. Platt Bridge remains closed. https://t.co/daV9UQ4AG7
— Philadelphia OEM (@PhilaOEM) June 21, 2019
Another fire broke out on June 10 at the same refinery, which according to a source familiar with plant operations; it affected a cracking unit of 50,000 barrels per day.
People in South Jersey told NBC they heard a series of explosions, while those in Philadelphia said the explosion knocked art off their walls.
According to NBC, some South Philadelphia residents said debris had fallen from the sky in their neighborhoods and gardens after the early morning explosions.
The 150-year-old complex is the largest refinery on the east coast and employs about 1,000 people.
The cause of the fire is still unclear. This is the second refinery fire in a month after a fire on June 10 in which no injuries were reported, USA Today reported.
Translated by José Espinoza