Tag Archives: Richmond

Residents flood Bay area hospitals after fire


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A fire at one of the country’s largest refineries spewed thick black smoke over cities in the San Francisco Bay area, sending scores of residents to hospitals complaining of breathing problems early Tuesday.

Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo, a town near the Chevron refinery in Richmond, said about 200 people had sought help and more patients were arriving. Kaiser’s Richmond Medical Center also said several dozen people came to the emergency room complaining of shortness of breath, but none was seriously ill.

Residents said they heard loud blasts around 6:15 p.m., when the fire broke out, although Chevron officials could not confirm those reports.

Daniela Rodriguez told the Contra Costa Times that she heard a “big boom” about the time the fire started. The 23-year-old resident said about an hour passed before she received an automated call from Contra Costa County to remain indoors.

“I was feeling kind of nauseous and light-headed (from the smell),” she told the newspaper.

The Chevron Richmond Refinery makes high-quality products that include gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel and lubricants, as well as chemicals used to manufacture many other useful products. The blaze started Monday evening when a diesel leak ignited at the refinery’s No. 4 Crude Unit, Nigel Hearne, manager of the refinery, told The San Francisco Chronicle.

Randy Sawyer, the chief environmental and hazardous materials officer for the county’s health services agency, said any kind of smoke can be toxic, but added: “In this smoke, there can also be all kind of byproducts that can be toxic.”

The agency had four teams of inspectors testing air quality, Sawyer said.

The blaze at the plant in Richmond, about 10 miles northeast of San Francisco, was contained by late Monday although it was not immediately known when the flames would be extinguished, said company spokeswoman Heather Kulp.

One employee suffered a minor injury and was receiving first aid, Chevron officials said.

County health officials used automated calls to warn residents of Richmond, San Pablo and the unincorporated community of North Richmond to “shelter in place,” meaning they should not only stay inside, but should also turn off heaters, air conditioners and fans, and to cover cracks around doors with tape or damp towels.

To the south, Oakland police issued a community advisory suggesting that residents of the North Oakland Hills area close all windows and doors and turn off air conditioners.

A fire at the refinery in January 2007 injured two workers and spewed low levels of sulfur dioxide and other toxins into the air. County officials said then that it was not enough to harm the health of nearby residents.

During an evening news conference, Hearne apologized “to the community for the fire and smoke this evening at the Richmond refinery.”

The refinery is the largest producer of base oils on the West Coast, processing up to 240,000 barrels of crude oil a day, according to the company’s website.

The company said Monday it did not know yet whether production would be affected. The 2007 fire shut down the refinery for most of that year’s first quarter.
Associated Press


The Chevron Richmond Refinery And The November 14th Incident


Chevron Corp. (CVX) said it contained a fire that broke out in the crude unit at its Richmond refinery, the largest in Northern California.

The company was bringing down units after a blaze at the No. 4 crude unit started yesterday around 6:15 p.m. local time, according to a person with direct knowledge of the operation who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.
Enlarge image Chevron Said to Be Shutting California Refinery on Fire


Built on a peninsula of low hills rising from San Francisco Bay, the refinery became the West Coast’s largest and most advanced plant upon its completion in July 1902, according to the website. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Flames were brought under control as of 10:30 p.m. local time, and all employees at the refinery have been accounted for, said Melissa Ritchie, a Chevron spokeswoman at the plant. One person was being treated for minor burns on the wrist, she said. The plant reported an evacuation after the fire broke out, a filing with the California Emergency Management Agency shows.

Crews determined there was a diesel leak from a line in the crude unit that may have started the fire, Ritchie said. She declined to confirm the definite cause of the incident.

The Contra Costa County health-services department issued a shelter-in-place advisory for Richmond, North Richmond and San Pablo because of the fire. The agency recommended that residents stay inside their homes or the nearest buildings, bring pets indoors, close doors and windows, and make sure vents and fireplaces are closed.

The Richmond plant can process 240,000 barrels a day of feedstock, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The plant is about 110 years old, according to the company’s website. Built on a peninsula of low hills rising from San Francisco Bay, the refinery became the West Coast’s largest and most-advanced plant upon its completion in July 1902, according to the website.
Hazardous Materials

The county’s hazardous materials division was at the refinery to test air quality, according to a notice from the health department. The plant released sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, hydrogen oxide, sulfuric acid and nitrogen dioxide because of the fire, the state filing shows.

BART, the regional transit system, halted service between the Richmond station and El Cerrito Plaza, a notice on the agency’s website shows.

The refinery produces gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, lubricants and other oil products, according to the company’s website. The plant is one of six refineries that make up more than 75 percent of Chevron’s total refining capacity, the website shows.

Nov. 14 Incident

The refinery shut a crude unit on Nov. 14 after vacuum residuum, made up of heavy hydrocarbons, leaked from a bleeder on a filter and “auto ignited,” Chevron said in a filing to county regulators following that fire. The unit was returned to service later that same month, two people with direct knowledge of the plant’s operations said Nov. 29.

Chevron’s oil refineries and filling stations earned $1.88 billion as U.S. processing margins climbed to a second-quarter record average of $28.98 a barrel when crude costs fell faster than gasoline prices.

Chevron’s net income fell to $7.21 billion, or $3.66 a share, from $7.73 billion, or $3.85, a year earlier, the San Ramon, California-based company said in a statement July 27. The result was 35 cents more than the average of four analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg, which ranged from $3.10 to $3.47.




8/6 Chevron Oil Refinery Burns in California -Level 3 Alert for the residents

Ready for Gas prices to spike?
A huge Refinery near Oakland California capable of producing 240,000 barrels a day burns early Monday Morning…Residents have been urged to stay inside, and the area is being evacuated.A Level 3 Hazmat emergency has been declared…developing…Starting at the Chevron refinery shortly before 5:30 a.m. a shelter-in-place order has been issued, authorities said.

The countywide warning system was activated, a dispatcher with the county’s hazardous materials department said.

The fire may cause eye, skin, nose or respiratory irritation in the community. To shelter in place, West County residents should pick a windowless interior room, turn off fans and heating and air-conditioning systems and keep a radio, television or computer on for updates.

Toll operators from the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge have been cleared from booths, the Highway Patrol said. Toll gates will be left open; drivers in the area are advised to use caution, including turning off ventilation and close windows as they pass through.

No immediate word was available on injuries.
Commuters who use the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge got an unexpected benefit from the fire. Toll takers were told to shelter in place and stopped taking tolls for part of the morning commute.

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