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Activists helped shut down an oil refinery after a series of explosions. The consequences weren't what they expected

·1 min

Bilal Motley, a utilities manager at a former Philadelphia oil refinery, experienced a massive explosion during his graveyard shift in June 2019. Emergency sirens blared as reports of a fire at the hydrofluoric acid unit reached the workers. Motley, fearing for his life, rushed to the scene. More explosions occurred along the way, causing significant damage. Philadelphia Energy Solutions, the largest oil refining complex on the East Coast, filed for bankruptcy after the incident. The property was later sold to Hilco Redevelopment Partners, who are now working on cleanup and redevelopment plans for the land. The former refinery had a history of fires and pollution, impacting the health of nearby residents. Despite the closure of the refinery, concerns about environmental damage remain, and the timeline for improvements is uncertain.