Contractor: Release of material, not explosion or fire, led to 3 injuries

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A spokesman for a company working at the Delaware City Refining Co. site joined others in saying an industrial accident that injured three of its workers did not involve an explosion.

“We are working on gathering as much information as we can about the incident. Importantly, there is no credible evidence of an explosion, even a minor one, despite published reports,”Mike Murphy of Nooter Construction stated in an email message. “Although early in the process, we believe the injuries resulted from a release of material from pressurized equipment that our injured employees and others were working on at the time. We are committed to understanding what happened and sharing the learnings with our workforce and other employers.”

Nooter is a national industrial contractor with an office in the Philadelphia area.

Murphy continued, “We are saddened to confirm that three Nooter Construction employees were injured in an incident that occurredTuesday at the Delaware City Refinery, where we provide contract refinery maintenance. We have spoken with all three employees and their families, and are pleased that one of our employees was released from the hospital Tuesday. Our thoughts are with them as they begin their recovery.We are also grateful to our other employees and PBF workers who helped control the situation and quickly get responders to the job site.”

Refinery spokesperson Lisa J. Lindsey also stated no explosion, fire or operating event was associated with the accident.

WDELreported that the three persons were taken to Crozier Chester Burn Center with burns, with one in critical condition.

The injuries Tuesday were the first serious ones reported at the refinery since 2015. At that time, a flash fire blamed on faulty maintenance procedures sent one worker to the hospital with burns.

Shawn Garvin, who heads the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said Wednesday that environmental regulators won’t be investigating Tuesday’s incident because no emissions occurred. Garvin added that DNREC officials were at the plant to monitor the situation.

“We checked it out to see if there were any environmental things, anything that falls under our purview,’’ Garvin said. “Our officers responded to the refinery and determined that this was more of a health and safety issue, not an environmental thing. Our emergency response folks have offered any support that we can provide.”

(Includes reporting from WHYY)

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