Massive fire breaks out at Philadelphia oil refinery

Massive explosion at gas refinery in Philadelphia: reports

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 out of control at an oil refinery in Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia fire department official said.

There are no reports of injuries, although one employee complained of chest pains.

A fire at a Philadelphia refinery led to a massive explosion that sent shockwaves throughout the city at 4:20 am on Friday.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions could not immediately be reached for comment on the fire.

Thick, black smoke billowed across the city.

Nearby residents were asked to shelter in place.

The company says there were three separate explosions, which were felt miles away.

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Preliminary testing at the refinery and the adjacent community shows no "ambient carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons [combustibles], or hydrogen sulfide", said Philadelphia Department of Public Health spokesperson James Garrow in a statement.

Gasoline prices in the Northeast could rise over the next few weeks as a result of the explosion, but an increase isn't likely to last long, said Claudio Galimberti, a refining analyst at S&P Global Platts.

Residents reported hearing and feeling the booms as flames shot into the sky, turning night into day. Nobody was injured in that early explosion, but it led to environmental activists protesting the refinery's safety standards. The refinery experienced another blaze on June 10, Philadelphia Fire Department spokeswoman Kathy Matheson told CNN.

The PES refining complex - which has existed in some form for more than 150 years - is the largest of its kind on the US East Coast, according to its website, and processes 335,000 barrels of crude per day.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the two fires were "unrelated in their nature and cause".

Four SEPTA transit routes have been diverted because of the fire.

The facility is the 10th largest in the U.S. and is the largest oil refining complex on the Eastern seaboard, according to its website. The refinery turns the crude into gasoline, jet fuel, propane, home heating oil and other products.

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