Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Chevron Refinery Fire in Richmond, California

Smoke from the Chevron refinery
Thousands of East Bay residents were ordered to stay in their homes with the windows and doors closed Monday night after a series of explosions at Chevron's Richmond refinery. The explosions started about 6:15 p.m., and at least two large fires spewed thick, black smoke into the darkening sky.

The fire started at the refinery's No. 4 Crude Unit, Chevron officials said. Just before 6:30 p.m., an inspection crew discovered that there was a diesel leak in a line in the unit - and that the leak was growing. Shortly after the crew evacuated the area, the diesel ignited.

All employees had been accounted for and there were no fatalities, but one refinery worker suffered burns to his wrist and was treated at the on-site clinic.  About five minutes after the explosions, sirens tore through the air, alerting residents to stay indoors to prevent breathing tainted air.

As the smoke stretched out over the El Cerrito hills, Contra Costa County hazardous materials units rolled through the neighborhoods, taking air samples. Som people came to the emergency room Monday night complaining of shortness of breath, but none was seriously ill. (San Fran Chronicle, 8/8/2012)

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