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Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Dec. 24, 1989

Labor Day Blues in Philly

Irony is defined as expressing one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite. For an example look no further than the recent Labor Day celebration in Philadelphia barely two months after an explosion and fire closed the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery complex.

October 1, 2019

Shrapnel From Blast Set Stage for April Refinery Fire
Vapor Release Triggers California Blaze

Vapor Release Triggers California Blaze

Dubbed "the most serious U.S. refinery incident in recent years" by a top U.S. Chemical Safety Board official, an Aug. 6 flammable vapor explosion at a Richmond, Calif., refinery is under investigation by that agency.

October 1, 2012

Romeoville, Illinois: July 23, 1984

Romeoville, Illinois: July 23, 1984

In July 1984, explosions and fire at an Illinois refinery claimed 17 lives. Of those, 11 who died were industrial responders, the most ever lost in a single incident.

July 1, 2008

Westville, New Jersey: July 11, 2007

Westville, New Jersey: July 11, 2007

When a lightning strike ignited a 100-foot-diameter xylene storage tank at Sunoco's Eagle Point refinery in Westville, N.J., the refinery's chief exceeded the NFPA guidelines for foam application by nearly 40 percent.

January 1, 2008

Sunray, Texas: July 29, 1956

Sunray, Texas: July 29, 1956

Sunray should be a name that every industrial emergency responders knows and studies. But it is barely mentioned today. Sunray deserves to be more than just a trivia question shared among firefighters.

November 1, 2006

Milford Haven, U.K.: Aug. 30, 1983

Milford Haven, U.K.: Aug. 30, 1983

A burning crude oil storage tank not extinguished quickly enough is like stoking a volcano. Crude contains water that settles to the bottom of the tank. A surface fire slowly heats the oil until the thermal wave reaches that water. The result is instant steam that pushes the heated, burning crude up and out of the tank.

July 1, 2001

Whiting, Indiana: Aug. 27, 1955

Whiting, Indiana: Aug. 27, 1955

Amazing as it may seem, events as destructive as the Whiting, Indiana, refinery fire in 1955 have been consigned to the past quite easily. It takes a conscientious effort by those who least want to relive the experience to keep the memory alive.

March 1, 2001