Published: Fri, June 21, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

USA gasoline prices jump 3.5% after massive fire at Philadelphia refinery

USA gasoline prices jump 3.5% after massive fire at Philadelphia refinery

A predawn butane explosion at an oil refinery in South Philadelphia unleashed a giant ball of flames and plumes of smoke into the air on Friday, prompting a shelter-in-place order for a nearby neighborhood and sending more than 100 firefighters to the scene.

A fire at a refinery complex in Philadelphia started in a Value-Added Tax of butane.

This explosion and ensuing fire was a stark reminder of what local residents, environmental groups like PennEnvironment, and health professionals have been saying for a long time: risky fossil fuels, and the refineries that house them, put our health, environment, and communities at risk.

By 9 a.m., emergency workers were still trying to control the fire, said Corley.

Firefighters are cooling tanks surrounding the area.

Residents heard and felt explosions and flames shot into the sky, turning night into day.

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.

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The fire caused temporary closures of Interstates 76 and 95. There were no reports of injuries, although one employee was checked out after complaining of chest pains. It also says that it's the largest refiner on the US eastern seaboard, and the 10th largest in the country.

Some commuter buses are being detoured. Social media began seeing reports of fire and booms shortly after 4 a.m. Friday.

Video of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery shows as it burns right into the early morning sky.

Messages seeking comment from the company have not been returned.

KYW-TV reports the refinery has its own fire brigade.

The Schuylkill Expressway eastbound was also closed for a while early Friday morning. No injuries have been disclosed at this time.

Butane is one of the products - along with gasoline, heating oil and propane - that comes from the process of refining crude oil.

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