“Fire and Explosions at Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refinery Hydrofluoric Acid Alkylation Unit” – U.S. Chemical Safety Board

CSB-VideoStillOfPESExplosion
On Friday, June 21, 2019 at 4:22 a.m., a third and the largest explosion occurred when the V‑1 Treater Feed Surge Drum violently ruptured. A fragment of the vessel weighing approximately 19 tons flew across the Schuylkill River. It was launched at the speed of an Indy 500 race car, but weighed 24 times more than one. Click the image to watch a dramatic video of the explosion, which, at t = 4 seconds, shows the fragment being hurled through the sky.

PES estimated that 5,239 pounds of hydrofluoric acid released from piping and equipment during the incident. It estimated that 1,968 pounds of the released hydrofluoric acid [38%] was contained by water spray within the unit and was processed in the refinery wastewater treatment plant, and that 3,271 pounds of hydrofluoric acid [63%] released to the atmosphere and was not contained by water spray.

Factual Update  — October 16, 2019 — Incident Summary

On June 21, 2019, a major process loss of containment caused a fire and explosions at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining and Marketing LLC (PES) Refinery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Fire and Explosions at Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refinery Hydrofluoric Acid Alkylation Unit