A Delaware oil refinery fire critically injured two workers on Wednesday. The accident occurred at the Delaware City Refining Company. It’s the second incident at the refinery to happen in just over a year. Images from a Delaware Department of Transportation camera showed a plume of thick, black smoke and flames emerging from the refinery.
Assistant State Fire Marshal Michael Chionchio revealed that both workers were flown to a local hospital for treatment. He said that they were later transferred to a burn center in Pennsylvania. They’re receiving treatment for burns to their back, forearms, and the back of their heads. Responders brought the blaze under control about an hour after it was reported. Currently, the cause of the fire has not been revealed by officials or the refinery’s owner.
About the Delaware City Refinery
The Delaware City refinery is owned by PBF Energy. A fire broke out at the same facility in February of 2019. A crude oil unit ignited and released over 6,000 pounds of pollutants into the air. Just last month, state regulators fined PBF Energy a total of $70,000 for two pollution violations that occurred in 2018 and 2019.
In October of 2018, an incident at the refinery described as a “release of heated product under pressure” caused three workers to sustain burn injuries. The plant did not suffer any damage and resumed operation immediately after the accident.
One source told U.S. News that the plant was expected to shut down its alkylation unit in February and March of this year for maintenance. It’s currently unclear if the fire is related to this turnaround. However, it’s incredibly common for turnarounds to be hazardous due to the precision required to prevent disaster. Just one improper turn of a valve or any other slight deviation from procedures can result in explosions and intense fires.
Our refinery fire lawyers will be monitoring this story as it develops. Our hearts go out to the injured workers and their families. We hope for a speedy recovery.