Philadelphia oil refinery fires go back decades

❝ An explosion at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery in South Philadelphia early Friday is the latest in a string of fires, explosions, and incidents involving the city’s oil refinery compounds.

The five minor injuries pale in comparison to the deaths reported in some earlier blasts, but it was so large and so hot that it could be seen from space in satellite infrared images, according to the National Weather Service.

RTFA and follow a string of explosions and fires recorded as far back as 1931.

2 thoughts on “Philadelphia oil refinery fires go back decades

  1. Gas-s-s-s says:

    Refinery Explosions Raise New Warnings About Deadly Chemical (NPR 7/19/19) Philadelphia Energy Solutions worst-case disaster scenario includes 143,262 pounds of hydrogen fluoride released over 10 minutes, which could travel as a toxic cloud for more than 7 miles and impact more than a million people, including in schools, homes, hospitals, prisons, playgrounds, parks and a wildlife sanctuary.
    Hydrogen fluoride, often referred to as HF, is one of the deadliest chemicals used by refiners and other industrial manufacturers.
    A 2013 report released by the United Steelworkers, the union that represents refinery workers, warned that facilities using HF don’t have adequate safety measures in place and are unprepared for a release. It said this puts 12,000 workers and 13 million residents at risk of exposure, including in major metropolitan areas like Houston, Memphis and Salt Lake City.
    It also pointed to 131 “HF-related incidents or near misses” in the three years preceding the publication of the report and called for phasing out the use of hydrogen fluoride.
    Video of the 1986 “Goldfish” Release Test of hydrofluoric acid (HF) shows the formation and spread of a ground-hugging toxic cloud. In the test carried out by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory research scientist Dr. Ronald R. Koopman, 8,300 lbs. of HF were released within 2 minutes. 100% of the acid became airborne in a dense, ground-hugging cloud of deadly HF. Two miles downwind, the HF cloud had more than twice the lethal concentration.

  2. Footnote says:

    The Bhopal gas disaster, as it became known, occurred shortly after midnight on December 3, 1984, when a cloud of poisonous gas escaped from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in the city. It has been dubbed the “Hiroshima of the chemical industry”. The accidental release of 42 tonnes of methyl isocyanate (MIC) from the factory exposed more than 500,000 people to toxic gases and up to 10,000 inhabitants are thought to have died within the first 72 hours after the leak.
    At least 25,000 people exposed to the gas have since died, and today in Bhopal tens of thousands more Indians suffer from a variety of debilitating gas-related illnesses such as respiratory and psychiatric problems, joint pains, menstrual irregularities, tuberculosis and cancers. More disturbingly, the escalating number of birth defects in children include cleft palates, webbed feet and hands, twisted limbs, brain damage and heart problems.

    A 1962 Union Carbide ad titled, “Science Helps Build a New India,” which appeared in ‘National Geographic’, among others. (click to enlarge)

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