Flaring caused by an activated safety system at the Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery at 3901 Unick Road sent up a plume of smoke over west Ferndale today, alarming some nearby residents.
About 7pm this evening, the tall plume of black smoke could be seen emanating from the refinery from miles away. The plume subsided shortly after it began but the black cloud it created could be seen floating to the southeast as it dissipated.
According to Josh Summers, director of public affairs at Phillips 66, “All personnel are safe and the refinery is operating normally.”
Temporary flaring, burning off product via an often visible flame at the top of a tall structure, is an industrial safety mechanism intended to dispose of product in a controlled manner in order to protect workers and the nearby community.
It is not unusual to see visible flaring events at refineries but dark smoke is not as common.