Heart of the matter:
A massive explosion sent shockwaves throughout South Philadelphia earlier this Friday. The magnitude of the blast was enormous as the explosion could be felt up to South Jersey and Delaware County.
The accident took place at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery on, the 3100 blocks of Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia. The refinery is perhaps the biggest refinery complex on the East Coast. The first blast also caused some smaller explosions throughout the pipeline system.
The reason of the fire is still not clear, but the city and refinery officials have confirmed that a large amount of butane present in the refinery complex is feeding the blaze. It is also being reported that the propane is also present near the center of the fire.
According to Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy, the fire is contained but hasn’t gone down. “It is safer if it burns itself out,” Murphy added. This makes it difficult for the firefighters to go in and combat the situation.
It has also been made clear by authorities that the chemicals burning in the fire will have no damaging effect on the air. “Preliminary testing both at the site of the refinery and in the adjacent community has shown no ambient carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons (combustibles), or hydrogen sulfide,” said James Garrow, spokesman of the Department of Public Health.
Update on the PES Fire:
Based on results of samples taken this morning, the Health Department has no findings that would suggest there is a threat to the public health as a result of today’s fire.
— Philadelphia Public Health (@PHLPublicHealth) June 21, 2019
“Those who live and work near the refinery and all Philadelphians have our word — we are firmly committed to ensuring the safe operation of the refinery, and the safety of those in its vicinity,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement.
Although no significant injury has been reported up till now, minor wounds sustained by the workers were treated on site by medical emergency officers.
No estimate about the damages that occurred due to the accident has been announced.