A huge oil refinery explosion occurred around 4 a.m., this morning at Philadelphia Energy Solutions. The neighborhood surrounding the refinery in South Philadelphia had to shelter-in-place.  According to Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy, the shelter-in-place order was lifted after test samples of the air revealed no harm to the public. It is still not clear what immediately caused the fire. Although there were no reports of significant injuries, firefighters asked nearby residents to stay sheltered.  Five minor injuries were reported, one by the fire department and four by refinery officials.

Philadelphia Energy Solution’s is a 150-year-old oil refinery that processes about 335,000 barrels of crude oil a day and is the largest on the U.S. East Coast.  This is now the second fire reported at the refinery this month.  It took 120 firefighters to cool off the areas around the explosion to keep it from spreading further.  According to NBC Philadelphia, some neighbors in South Philadelphia said debris rained from the sky into their neighborhoods after the explosion.

According to CNBC, the refinery said three separate explosions occurred in a vat of what is believed to be mostly propane. Earlier, the fire department said it was butane.

Common Causes of Oil Refinery Explosions

Oil refinery explosions can be caused by a variety of factors:

  • Natural disasters;
  • Improper maintenance;
  • Infrequent maintenance;
  • Insufficient training of workers;
  • Human error;
  • Improper equipment;
  • Defective equipment;
  • Improper storage of chemicals;
  • Improper transportation of chemicals; and
  • Failing to follow safe work practices.

Dangers of Working on an Oil Refinery

Unfortunately, most of the worst explosions that have happened on oil refineries could have been prevented. An oil refinery can pose dangers for workers, their families, and nearby communities, including explosions, fires, and chemical releases.  Our refinery accident attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard LLP are relentless in pursuing claims for their clients.  Our attorneys come armed with the knowledge and experience to get you what you deserve.

Morrow and Sheppard LLP’s expert industrial accident attorneys are closely monitoring the situation and will provide updates as information becomes available.

Sign Up For Our Personal Injury Newsletter

Stay up-to-date! Subscribe to our newsletter to learn about personal injury law, how it works, and protecting your legal rights. You'll receive free legal advice and links to helpful resources. Simply fill out the form below to get started.