The Latest: Refinery fire controlled but still burning

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Flames and smoke emerge from the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex in Philadelphia, Friday, June 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Latest on the fire at a Philadelphia refinery complex (all times local):

5 p.m.

A fire at a refinery complex in Philadelphia is controlled and contained but still burning more than 12 hours after it started.

Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy says the blaze at Philadelphia Energy Solutions started in a tank that holds a mix of propane and butane.

He says that the blaze is being fed by a main but that it’s not safe for workers to access the valve to shut it off.

He says it’s safer to burn off the fuel rather than fully extinguish the blaze, since the gases would still be flowing into the atmosphere.

The city health department says tests show the air is safe.

Murphy says five employees had minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

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10 a.m.

A fire at a refinery complex in Philadelphia is still burning more than six hours after it began.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions says it has not determined what caught fire, but it believes it was mostly propane. Earlier Friday, a Philadelphia Fire Department official had said a vat of butane caught fire.

The company says there were three separate explosions, which were felt miles away.

Four employees sustained minor injuries and were treated at the scene.

An order for nearby residents to shelter in place was lifted after 7 a.m.

It’s the second fire at the refinery in the past month, following a June 10 fire in which no injuries were reported.

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7:30 a.m.

A fire at a refinery complex in Philadelphia started in a vat of butane.

Philadelphia Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy says the fire at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex is contained but not under control.

Murphy says firefighters responded to a report of an explosion at the 150-year-old refinery just after 4 a.m. Friday. They are assisting the refinery’s fire department.

There are no reports of injuries, although one employee complained of chest pains. Murphy says employees were far enough away from the initial explosion in the butane vat.

Firefighters are cooling tanks surrounding the area.

Residents were awakened by flames shooting into the sky and a series of explosions shaking their homes.

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6:04 a.m.

There are no reports of injuries or evacuations after an early morning fire broke out at a 150-year-old refinery complex in Philadelphia.

Firefighters have contained the blaze at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex, which erupted before 4 a.m. Friday.

Residents heard and felt explosions and flames shot into the sky, turning night into day.

The cause of the fire is still unclear. It’s the second fire at the refinery in one month, following a June 10 fire in which no injuries were reported.

According to its website, the complex produces 335,000 barrels of crude oil daily. Philadelphia Energy Solutions says the oil refining complex is the largest on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

Some commuter buses are being detoured.

Messages seeking comment from the company have not been returned.

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5:22 a.m.

Officials in Philadelphia have confirmed an early morning fire at a 150-year-old refinery complex.

A Philadelphia Fire Department spokeswoman confirmed reports of a fire at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex in south Philadelphia. Social media began seeing reports of fire and booms shortly after 4 a.m. Friday.

KYW-TV reports the refinery has its own fire brigade. No injuries have been disclosed at this time.

The cause of the fire is still unclear. It’s the second fire at the refinery in one month, following a June 10 fire in which no injuries were reported.

Multiple SEPTA bus routes have been diverted because of the fire.

The complex produced 335,000 barrels of crude oil daily. Philadelphia Energy Solutions says the oil refining complex is the largest on the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

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