Smoke from Staten Island Refinery Fire

Smoke from Staten Island Refinery Fire
  • Credit:

    Image courtesy the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE

According to news sources, a barge loaded with fuel exploded at a loading dock on Staten Island on the morning of February 21, 2003, shaking buildings for miles around and sending a column of thick black smoke into the air. Initial reports from Staten Island officials indicate the explosion was the result of an accident, not terrorism or sabotage. The barge was unloading 100,000 gallons of unleaded gas when the explosion occurred. Hours after the explosion, the burning fuel was producing heavy black smoke and flames reaching upwards of 100 feet in the air.

This true-color image of the U.S. northeastern coastline was acquired on Feb. 21 by the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) several hours after the explosion. The dark smoke can be seen clearly in contrast with the whiter clouds in the area and the snow-covered landscape. In this scene, the smoke plume stretches about 150 kilometers (93 miles) to the east of the fire.

Images & Animations


File Dimensions

  • 540x405
  • JPEG
  • 1080x818
  • JPEG 384 KB

Note: Often times, due to the size, browsers have a difficult time opening and displaying images. If you experiece an error when clicking on an image link, please try directly downloading the image (using a right click, save as method) to view it locally.


  • Data Date:

    February 21, 2003
  • Visualization Date:

    February 22, 2003
  • Sensor(s):

    OrbView-2 - SeaWiFS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration