Shocking images capture an explosion at a Philadelphia refinery — that was felt miles away

  • Several explosions at a refinery in south Philadelphia shook the ground as flames shot into the sky Friday morning.
  • The explosion, which erupted before 4 am local time, was ignited by a fire in a vat of butane and propane at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex.
  • Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy said five employees sustained minor injuries and were treated at the scene.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Several explosions at a refinery in south Philadelphia shook the ground as flames shot into the sky Friday morning.

The explosion, which erupted before 4 am local time, was ignited by a fire in a vat of butane and propane at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex, the Associated Press reported. It could be felt miles away, according to CNN.

It is the second reported fire to occur at the refinery just this month, with the last incident happening on June 10.

A video posted on Twitter by ABC News captured the explosion at the 150-year-old refinery.

The fire was still seen burning more than 12 hours after it started, but it is reportedly contained. Tests show the air quality surrounding the complex is safe, according to the city health department.

“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,” a spokesperson from the Department of Public Health Air Management Services Lab, James Garrow, said to CNN earlier on Friday.

Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy said five employees sustained minor injuries and were treated at the scene.


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A video tweeted by Reuters shows firefighters battling large flames amid billowing smoke.

New York Rep. Alexandria O’Casio Cortez also tweeted out the video, saing it highlights the threat of climate change.

The fire is currently “confined and contained,” Murphy said at a press conference, CNN reported. He also said “It is safer if it burns itself out,” citing that it was too dangerous to get to the valve to shut off the main that is feeding the vat.

According to the complex’s website, it produces approximately 335,000 barrels of crude oil daily as the largest oil refining complex on the US Eastern Seaboard.


Flames shoot into the sky following the explosion.


The fire from the explosion lit up the sky.


Smoke can be seen billowing between the stacks of the refinery.

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