What caused all the smoke and flame from the Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery Thursday?

An external loss of power caused an unusual amount of visible flame and smoke from the Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery Thursday evening, Sept. 19, according to a Facebook post by the refinery, which added that there were “no injuries and no offsite impacts.”

The post said the power loss at approximately 6 p.m. was from the refinery’s local utility company, and that the refinery was working with the utility company to determine the cause of the outage.

“All refinery safety systems functioned as designed, and all appropriate regulatory notifications have been made,” the post read. “Flares are important safety devices used in refineries and petrochemical facilities. They safely burn excess hydrocarbon gases which cannot be recovered or recycled.”

The post went on to say that all employees were safe and that staff were sent offsite to monitor are quality.

“All data indicates there has been no off-site impact,” the refinery post said. “The safety of the community, the environment and our people are of the utmost importance.”

Power was restored by 8:10 p.m., and the refinery post said it was in the process of restarting impacted units.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.