Firefighters worked for hours on Sunday to bring a fire at the Delaware City refinery under control.
Just after 12:00, yesterday afternoon, Sunday, February 3, 2019, firefighters from the Delaware City Fire Company, along with crews from across New Castle County responded to the refinery located at 4550 Wrangle Hill Road for reports of a commercial structure fire.
Upon their arrival, crews found heavy black smoke and a raging fire in what is believed to be a crude oil section of the plant. They began their attack on the fire while other arriving units staged near the refinery’s fire brigade station.
As they worked to get a handle on the fire crews were reporting that fire was floating on top of the water on the ground and that they were trying to reach a shut-off valve.
As the incident stretched on, the commander on scene began rotating firefighters out of the “Hot Zone”, the area where firefighters were working the fire. When fresh firefighters were moved in the outgoing firefighters were sent through decontamination showers, according to radio reports.
Within minutes of the first crews being dispatched, First State Update began receiving photos and videos of the fire from all across New Castle County. The images depicted a large plume of black smoke coming from the refinery and rising into the sky.
Shortly after the black smoke began to fill the sky over much of New Castle County, fire dispatch began receiving multiple calls from residents in the Newark and Bear areas. Many of the callers were reporting an odor of natural gas in the air. As crews responded out to those calls they determined that those reports were unfounded. The number of calls caused Aetna Hose, Hook, and Ladder to issue the following message on social media”FYI there is a strong odor of natural gas outside throughout Newark which is related to a fire at the Delaware City Refinery. There is no hazard to the public in the area and our crews have been responding to numerous calls for both outside and inside odors.”
Just before 6:00 the incident commander at the refinery reported that the scene was under control but crews would remain on scene. At 7:41 Command terminated the incident and turned the scene over to the facility.
Not much is known about what was burning at the PBF Energy Inc. 175,000 barrel-per-day crude unit or how the fire broke out.
DNREC issued the following statement via their Facebook page regarding the incident:
Due to a Fire at the Delaware City Refinery, SR 9 north is closed at Madison St. River Road is closed in both directions from SR 72 to Hamburg Road. Clark's Corner Rd is closed at Cox Neck Road.
— Delaware City Police (@DelawareCity_PD) February 3, 2019
During the fire SR 9 north was closed at Madison St. River Road was closed in both directions from SR 72 to Hamburg Road. Clark’s Corner Rd was also closed at Cox Neck Road.
No injuries were reported as a result of this incident.