'Small, Controlled Burn' Under Way at Richmond Refinery

The fire in the Chevron refinery's 4 Crude Unit began at 6:15 p.m. local time Aug. 6. About 200 local residents reporting respiratory problems went to a local hospital by 11:30 p.m., the Los Angeles Times reported.

A fire erupted at 6:15 p.m. Aug. 6 inside Chevron's century-old refinery in Richmond, Calif., resulting in heavy, black smoke and a shelter-in-place order for local residents by Contra Costa County Health Services. Chevron announced at 7:15 a.m. PDT Aug. 7 that the main fire had been extinguished, but safety officials were "allowing a small controlled burn as a safety measure to reduce pressure. This is helping to ensure more hydrocarbons don't escape. This is similar in concept to how refineries utilize flares," the company's posted statement said. It said the health agency ended its shelter-in-place at 11:31 p.m. Aug. 6, and the refinery ended its shelter-in-place by 11:49 p.m.

"All employees and contractors are safely accounted for. Three employees sustained minor injuries and were treated on site," according to the statement.

About 200 local residents reporting respiratory problems went to a local hospital by 11:30 p.m., the Los Angeles Times reported.

Chevron said the fire started at the facility's 4 Crude Unit.

The refinery is about 15 miles northeast of San Francisco and was built before Richmond was incorporated in 1905, according to a 2010 article on Chevron's website explaining how the company worked beginning in 2008 to build better community relations with residents living near the refinery.

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