Explosion at Delaware Refinery Rattles Homes, but Causes No Injuries

May 19, 2009

Firefighters contained a blaze early Monday caused by an explosion overnight at an oil refinery in. The blast rattled nearby homes but caused no injuries.

A fireball at Sunoco Inc.’s Marcus Hook facility lit up the sky Sunday night at the complex, which straddles the border between Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Authorities and company officials said no injuries were reported and no evacuations were ordered.

Sunoco Inc. spokesman Thomas Golembeski said the company was monitoring air quality hourly and the readings showed “the situation is safe.”

New Castle County, Del., county councilman John Cartier said he could see the flames from his home at least three miles from the refinery.

“It was almost like seismic,” he told The (Wilmington) News Journal newspaper. “My house was rocked.”

Authorities were trying to determine what caused the explosion, which occurred at the refinery’s ethylene complex. Ethylene is used in the production of plastics.

Some refining production in other units was affected, and Golembeski said the company was working with two of its upriver refineries to meet customer demands.

He did not say how much production was affected at facility, which converts 175,000 barrels of sweet crude oil per day into various petroleum products such as gasoline, jet fuel and home heating oil.

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