Fire Roaring at Chevron Refinery in Richmond (Update)

Categories: Breaking News
rsz_2refinery_fire_03.jpg
Albert Samaha
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Update (9:45 p.m.):
BART officials say all stations have been reopened except for Richmond.

Update (9:35 p.m.):
News outlets are reporting that tons of people are flooding emergency rooms complaining of breathing problems.

Update (9:17 p.m.):
Chevron officials just held a short news conference, saying it appears to have been a diesel fuel leak that started the fire. The diesel came in contact with some kind of metal, which ignited the fuel. The fire is still burning strong, and officials have no idea how long this flames will rage. However, Chevron officials apologized to the community and said they are working as fast as they can to put a cap on this toxic blaze. Needless to say, it could be a very long night.

Update 9:10 p.m.:
The fire is still going, although it's dissipated a bit. BART says that El Cerrito, Richmond, Del Norte, and North Berkeley stations are closed. More than 160,000 residents have been warned to stay indoors.

Update (9 p.m.):
Good news is that all Chevron employees have been accounted for. Sirens will sound every half-hour until the smoke is clear -- literally. So as long as you hear that siren, stay inside and hug your pets. That applies to all of Richmond, San Pablo, and now El Cerrito.

Update (8:50 p.m.): Oakland police are now warning North Oakland residents to stay inside as the toxic plume of smoke is headed that way. Also, Chevron released the following statement: "We are responding to this incident as quickly as we can and are deploying highly trained personnel to assess and manage the situation. We will not speculate on the cause of this incident. Our priority right now is containing the fire and protecting the health and safety of our employees and community. We will provide updates as more information can be confirmed."

Update (8:30 p.m.): BART has closed the Richmond station, and officials have issued a level 3 health warning, which means the fire can cause eye, nose, skin, and respiratory irritation, according to new reports. KTVU reports that refinery officials said the fire may have been caused by a pump leak on the crude unit column in the processing plant, although nothing has been confirmed yet. 

Original story (6:39 p.m.) Massive plumes of black smoke and flames visible even from across the bay are rising from a Richmond-area refinery.

Richmond Police confirmed the fire is at the Chevron refinery in that city, and have issued a shelter-in-place order due to the potential of hazardous chemicals now airborne. Contra Costa Health Services urges area residents to seal cracks around doors and windows with tape or damp towels.

Police were, at this time, unable to speak about the cause of the fire or confirm if it has led to any casualties. Radio reports indicate no casualties at this time.

See below a series of photos sent from a reader on site in Point Richmond:

Richmond fire local 01.jpg

Read more on how the fire might affect gas prices.
Richmond fire local 02.jpg



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21 comments
snappykat
snappykat

What about the other nearby communities to Richmond like El Sobrante, Hercules, Pinole, etc?  Only Richmond, San Pablo and El Cerrito are to shelter in place, and then they move on to warn Kensington?  What is wrong with this picture?

Adelaida Caballero
Adelaida Caballero

is this another excuse to dig deeper into our pockets to raise gas prices again?

Roko
Roko

How is it right that this article has been here since 6:39 but they only rang the alarm at 7:20 or so??? I would have closed my windows earlier!

jencote316
jencote316

Well, I guess it's a good evening to be hunkered down on the computer...

sheed7891
sheed7891

I live walking distance from the refinery in point richmond,,haven't made my way home yet,,,hopefully this stirs up enough health issues/lawsuits to shut them down...

richmonder
richmonder

As if Richmond isn't suffering from enough problems already.  From the failing schools to the low class people ruining the city, good lord help us....

goodluckgamer
goodluckgamer

i live in brentwood antioch, i think im far away enough

 

raks_fi_hazenna
raks_fi_hazenna

there is a huge cloud in the sky. My neighbor told me its warning level 3 shelter in place.

raks_fi_hazenna
raks_fi_hazenna

there is a huge cloud in the sky. My neighbor told me its warning level 3 shelter in place.

 

Eskenazi
Eskenazi

 @Roko Roko:

 

An area resident tells me the alarm went off earlier and rang a second time at around 7:20.

 

Best,

 

Joe Eskenazi

BongoBiff
BongoBiff

 @sheed7891 Yes, stuff like this needs to be done in poor countries where the people don't matter.

Roko
Roko

 @Eskenazi Thanks, Joe, I appreciate your reporting this story! Otherwise I would have been clueless....

artstarzz
artstarzz

 @feljones Colorado is amking the change . 57% wind power now . 17%  when everyone is useing power

feljones
feljones

 @sheed7891  @BongoBiff 

BB is, I believe, making the case that, unless and until we have somehow miraculously stopped using carbon-based fuels, our power plants and refineries need to be somewhere. So if not in our backyard, then who's?

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