Formal investigations begin into Philadelphia refinery blast

Different agencies began formal investigations on June 24 into the cause and origin of an explosion and ensuring fire that broke out early June 21 at Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ combined 335,000-b/d refining complex in Philadelphia.

Jun 24th, 2019

Different agencies began formal investigations on June 24 into the cause and origin of an explosion and ensuring fire that broke out early June 21 at Philadelphia Energy Solutions LLC’s (PES) combined 335,000-b/d refining complex in Philadelphia (OGJ Online, June 21, 2019).

Following the final extinguishing of the fire on the afternoon of June 23, a gas valve fueling the fire was shut off and the tank involved in the explosion-fire was isolated, the City of Philadelphia said in a release.

Agencies including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, and the Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD) Fire Marshal’s Office were to begin investigating the cause and origin of the fire starting on June 24, the city said.

In the meantime, PFD’s hazmat unit and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health are continuing to monitor air quality around the refinery.

Further details regarding the incident were not disclosed.

While PES has yet to respond to inquiries from OGJ regarding the incident, the operator did confirm a series of three separate explosions occurred in an alkylation unit at the site, injuring five refinery workers and prompting a temporary shelter-in-place for residents in the surrounding area, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Footage of the blast aired by local news affiliates showed portions of unidentified equipment at the refinery propelling into the air and flames engulfing surrounding units at the site, with reports of local residents feeling the explosion for miles.

PES’s Philadelphia refining complex is made up of both the Point Breeze and Girard Point refineries.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@endeavorb2b.com.

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