Fire 'like a nuclear bomb' rips through Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery

Philadelphia fire

The fire is "confined and being addressed, but it is not under control", Philadelphia Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy said at a morning media briefing.

Thick, black smoke billowed across the city when the fire started. Incredibly, no one was seriously injured in the blast that sent debris flying for blocks - raining down on streets and traffic lights.

A shelter-in-place order was issued for nearby residents until 7 a.m. He said that, at this time, the blaze is contained inside the Value-Added Tax and, although it is not yet under control, firefighters are working to ensure it does not spread. It was the second blaze at the refinery in one month, following a June 10 fire in which no injuries were reported. It's not clear what caused the Value-Added Tax to catch fire. Company officials said they suspected that propane - produced as a byproduct when lengthy hydrocarbons in petroleum get broken down into gas or heating oil - fueled the fire.

Murphy said a Value-Added Tax of butane ignited and eventually exploded.

The fire was contained around 5:30 a.m. and no injuries were reported.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions' refinery complex has a total refining capacity of 335,000 bpd and is the largest such complex on the U.S. Eastern seaboard, according to PES's website.

Around 4 a.m. ET, a Value-Added Tax of butane ignited at Philadelphia Energy Solutions, the outlet reported.

The Philadelphia Deptartment of Public Health in a statement to 6 ABC Action News there is no threat to the surrounding community.

Earlier, a part of the Schuylkill Expressway (Interstate 76) was closed, but it has since been re-opened, the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management said in a series of tweets.

PES Philadelphia couldn't immediately comment when reached by phone.

One worker was at the site at the time of the explosion, but was far away enough to escape serious harm, Murphy told NBC Philadelphia. The company went through a bankruptcy process a year ago to reduce its debt.



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