Refinery’s safety relief system creates large ‘ball of fire’ in West Oahu

A large fire in West Oahu surprised many people Thursday night.

We received several calls into our newsroom from people reporting what appeared to be a large explosion, or ball of fire, emanating from Campbell Industrial Park.

The fire was so large, it could be seen from Waikiki to Maili.

The Honolulu Fire Department says no emergency was reported in the area and crews did not respond.

Par Hawaii says at 9 p.m., there was an unplanned shutdown at its Kapolei refinery, and the fire is part of its safety relief system. Workers are trained to execute this procedure safely.

A similar incident occurred earlier Thursday, when Island Energy Services’ refinery experienced an unplanned shutdown at approximately 5:30 a.m. A large flame was also visible.

The company says the fire is “an integral part of the refinery’s safety relief system, which performed as designed.”

No one was hurt in either incident.

(Editor’s note: Island Energy Services initially said the second fire took place at its refinery. A correction was issued and this post has been updated to identify Par Hawaii as the source of the evening fire.)

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