Huge fire breaks out at Philadelphia oil refinery

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A huge blaze erupted at a Philadelphia oil refinery, sending a fireball into the sky and forcing residents to stay off nearby roads, local media and officials said.

Footage on the East Coast city´s NBC affiliate station showed plumes of smoke towering from the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refining complex.

The blaze in south Philadelphia broke out around 4:00 am (0800 GMT) when a series of explosions occurred, according to NBC10. The fire could be seen for miles.

Refinery authorities say they are still working to account for all plant staff, the network reported.

Philadelphia´s Office of Emergency Management asked residents and workers at businesses east of the scene to remain indoors until further notice.

A major highway was briefly closed as firefighters responded to the incident.