PA: Fire at Delaware County Sunoco plant : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Thursday, August 31, 2000 o to: S M T W T F S Fire sends thick smoke into air at Delaware County Sunoco plant

At least two persons were treated for eye irritations. A fire was contained by plant personnel.


A power interruption caused a fire in a catalytic cracking unit this noon at the Sunoco refinery in Trainer, Delaware County, sending a billow of thick yellow smoke into the air.

No serious injuries were reported. At least two persons were treated for eye irritation caused by the smoke that passed over them as they drove on a highway near by.

The fire was contained by plant personnel.

Authorities told area residents that the yellow smoke - alumina silica, which is used in the refinery process - could cause irritation or respiratory problems. Neighbors initially were asked to stay in their homes.

The fire happened after a power interruption forced the shutdown of the plant at about 11:25 a.m., Sunoco spokesman Jerry Davis said.

Local firefighters responded, but the fire was extinguished by the plant's internal emergency response team and the entire situation was under control by 1 p.m.

"When the shutdown occurred and the fire occurred there was this release and the yellow smoke. It's generally considered harmless and non-hazardous, but it is an irritant and should be avoided. It can get on clothes and people," Davis said.

Several people called 911 and said they heard an explosion then saw yellow smoke and flames coming from a smokestack, said Delaware County Emergency Management Agency Director Ed Truitt.

The equipment where the fire occurred, the catalytic cracker stack which separates crude oil into different grades of fuel, remained shutdown pending investigation, said a spokeswoman from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Today's incident is similar to a crude oil processor malfunction at the South Philadelphia refinery, which spewed a yellow-brown dust into the air for several hours June 21, Davis said. Some residents of the area complained of burning eyes and respiratory problems from the gritty material.

Also at the South Philadelphia plant, a leaking pipe carrying heated gasoline exploded and started a fire on June 30. Davis said the problems are not related.

-- Martin Thompson (, September 01, 2000


Electrical Malfunction Causes Crude Unit Temporary Shutdown at Sunoco's Marcus Hook Refinery

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Sunoco said that at approximately 11:20 a.m. Thursday, August 31, it experienced an emergency shutdown of the 93,000 barrels-per-day fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit at the Marcus Hook refinery. Company emergency personnel responded immediately and the unit was quickly put into a safe condition and shutdown. The shutdown was a result of an electrical malfunction.

Steps are underway to correct the cause of the shutdown and to prepare the unit for start up. It is expected that the start up will take place over the Labor Day weekend. A detailed investigation into the cause of the incident is being conducted.

Sunoco regrets any inconvenience the incident has caused the community. The Marcus Hook refinery has a hotline (800/786-0270) that can be accessed to get updates on the current situation at the refinery. Additionally, a toll- free number (800/590-3519) has been set up for residents who believe that they may have an insurance claim. Sunoco, Inc. (NYSE: SUN), headquartered in Philadelphia, is one of the largest independent petroleum refiner-marketers in the United States. Sunoco operates five domestic refineries with 730,000 barrels per day of crude oil processing capacity and markets gasoline under the Sunoco brand through approximately 3,500 Sunoco outlets in 17 states from Maine to Virginia and west to Indiana. Sunoco sells lubricants and petrochemicals worldwide, operates domestic pipelines and terminals, and manufactures metallurgical- grade coke for use in the steel industry. For additional information, visit Sunoco's internet home page at ACCT=OIL4&STORY=/www/story/09-01- 2000/0001303324&EDATE=FRI+Sep+01+2000,+12:04+PM

-- Martin Thompson (, September 02, 2000.

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