One of the largest oil refineries in South Philadelphia went up in flames on Friday. Philadelphia Energy Solutions operate the refinery in partnership with other oil brands like Sunoco. The firefighters are still battling the raging inferno.
South Philadelphia Refinery Also Produced Jet Fuel
Besides refining oil and gas, the refinery produces jet fuel which is the most refined form of crude oil and used as fuel by the aviation industry. it is a highly volatile and flammable liquid which requires specialized storage facilities.
Shortly after the 4 am people who were sound asleep got a rude awakening when a series of blasts shocked their homes and knocked the art of the wall according to some residents. Homes as far as South Jersey felt the explosion.
The police quickly cordoned off all routes leading to the refinery to prevent further incidents and clear the way for firefighters. For now, the raging inferno is contained within the boundaries of the refinery.
According to the authorities, the fire has been contained but is not yet under control. Philadelphia Fire Departments has dispatched about 50 apparatus and 120 personnel to south Philadelphia to combat the flames. The police so far have not reported any casualties as they felt it was too early to comment
According to Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy, the fire was caused by a vat of butane that ignited and eventually exploded. This caused a series of smaller explosions which worked its way through the tangle of pipes carrying fuel across the complex causing the fire.
Take Precaution When Leaving The House
Fireballs and black smoke have engulfed the sky. Air pollution experts are warning people with breathing problems to take extra precautions when they leave the house as the smoke may trigger asthma attacks or cause other complication. Children and infants should take similar precautions when leaving the house.
People living in neighborhoods close to the refineries have reported finding pieces of debris from the refinery. Authorities, for now, are advising people not to leave their home but have not yet issued evacuation orders.
Shelters have been set up in adjacent areas for safety and for those who are having a hard time staying in the affected regions.
Fuel Prices Are Up
As a result of this incident fuel prices in South Philadelphia and the adjacent areas have gone up by three percent. People should expect a shortage of fuel for the next few days and so should conserve their fuel as much as possible.