Сhemical reactor at Delaware oil refinery on fire

© dnrec.delaware.gov
A chemical reactor at an oil refinery in Delaware is on fire, billowing black smoke into the sky that can be seen from several miles away, local news reports. Rescuers are on the scene at the Delaware City Refining Company in New Castle County.

The fire, which began at 1 p.m. local time, was under control by 3:17 p.m., WPVI reported.

PBF Energy has confirmed a fire inside a catalytic cracker, which is used to convert crude oil into gasoline and other refined products. The refinery experienced “an operational incident that resulted in flaring” at about 12 p.m., the company said.

The fire is about 100 yards away from the company offices, the Delaware News Journal reported.

Firefighters are dousing the building with water as flames shoot out from it, according to WPVI.

The refinery has had two previous incidents under previous ownership that resulted in losses of life, the Delaware News Journal reported.

In July 2001, a 415,000-gallon tank exploded, killing worker Jeffrey Davis and injuring eight others. On top of that, more than one million gallons of sulfuric acid leaked from the tank farm, with about 100,000 gallons spilling into the Delaware River. The environmental catastrophe killed an estimated 2,400 fish and 240 crabs. Four years later, Motiva Enterprises, the location’s owner at the time, settled a joint federal and state lawsuit for $12 million.

In November 2005, when the refinery was owned by Valero, two contract employees, John Lattanzi and John Ferguson, died of asphyxiation from nitrogen while performing maintenance work on top of a reactor.

There are five fire departments battling the blaze at the refinery, the Delaware City Fire Department told Benzinga.com.

The refinery has a capacity of 190,000 barrels a day.