Fires, explosions at an oil refinery shake south Philadelphia

Burning fire and a series of explosions at an oil refining complex in south Philadelphia, the largest on the east coast, rocked homes as far away as southern New Jersey on Friday morning.

The fire started in a butane tank, which exploded and caused other explosions when flames engulfed the fuel lines at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery, officials said.

Deputy Fire Commissioner of Philadelphia, Craig Murphy, said no one was injured, but an employee complained of chest pains. The fire was reported at 4:05 a.m., and around 7 a.m. He had been confined but was not yet under control, Murphy said.

Residents east of the refinery complex were asked to take refuge on the site for approximately three hours, and the roads in the area remained closed at the start of the morning rush hour so that the crews could respond.

Some South Philly residents said the art flew off its walls, according to NBC Philadelphia.

People who are miles away could see the fire, and those nearby said that the debris clouds the early morning sky.

The complex consists of two refineries, Girard Point and Point Breeze, and processes 14 million gallons of crude oil per day. The fire started at Girard Point.

On June 10, a small fire was lit in the complex, but no one was injured, according to NBC Philadelphia. The complex also had a fire in 2015. Protests followed the fire earlier this month, as environmentalists expressed concern about the safety of the facility.