Philadelphia Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy says the fire at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex is contained but not under control. Firefighters worked with the refinery emergency operations team to hose down equipment to keep it cool.
The dramatic scene at Philadelphia Energy Solutions on Friday was filmed by numerous people who witnessed the thunderous explosion and the resulting plumes of fire that erupted across the skyline.
Neighbors said debris from the refinery rained down from the sky into their yards.
The Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management was asking people to shelter-in-place if they were near the refinery, due to "smoke and apparatus in the area".
A fire is burning at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery, the largest such plant on the U.S. East Coast and the main supplier to the local gasoline market.
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It was the second fire to occur at Philadelphia Energy Solutions this month.
Three fire stations and a hazardous materials response crew were mobilised, the fire department official said.
Officials in Philadelphia have confirmed an early morning fire at a 150-year-old refinery complex.
There were four injuries reported, according to a company statement, and all workers were treated at the site. "There's a cushion for drivers because we're well supplied, but if there's major damage, it's going to change that dramatically". 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 produces about 335,000 barrels - 14 million gallons - of crude oil per day. The shelter-in-place was lifted around 7 a.m. after a test determined the air in the area was free of ambient carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons (combustibles), or hydrogen sulfides.
The refinery is the largest and oldest on the USA east coast. It emerged from bankruptcy past year but has continued to struggle.