Philadelphia Oil Refinery Explosion Was So Massive, It Was Seen from Space

A fire at the largest oil refinery in the eastern United States resulted in an explosion whose fireball was so hot and so large that its could be seen from space.
John Loeffler

A fire at a Philadelphia oil refinery early Friday morning resulted in an explosion felt for miles, generating a fireball so big and so hot that the explosion itself was seen by a weather satellite overhead.

Philadelphia Oil Refinery Fire Explodes in Massive Fireball Seen from Space

A fire broke out at Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refirnery during the pre-dawn hours of Friday morning, CNBC reported today, blazing out of control and producing a massive explosion that could be felt for miles.


The heat from the half-mile wide fireball erupting from the refinery explosion was so intense that weather satellites were able to see its heat signature from space.

Residents to the east of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions complex were ordered to shelter in place immediately after the explosion. Extensive smoke from burning petroleum chemicals blanketed the area for several hours, though the order was lifted after Philadelphia Energy Solutions detected no further danger from inhalants.

Price of Gasoline Futures Shoots Up Following Blast at Largest Refinery in Eastern US

Gasoline prices shot up in the wake of the explosion at the 10th largest oil refinery in the US and the largest on the east coast. The 150-year old refinery sits in the river basin that has historically been a major commercial center along the Delaware river, but grew to become the center of oil refining operations in the eastern US and is a major purchaser of oil extracted from the North Sea region of Europe and West Africa.