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Residents told to go inside as big refinery fire burns in Richmond

August 6, 2012 |  8:07 pm

Richmond oil refinery fireA huge oil refinery fire Monday evening in the Bay Area city of Richmond caused officials to warn residents in two cities to stay inside their homes.

A shelter-in-place advisory was issued for residents in Richmond and San Pablo by health officials in Contra Costa County after the blaze at the Chevron refinery sent a massive column of black smoke into the air near the shoreline northeast of San Francisco. The smoke was visible for miles.

"Lots of crazy black smoke," said Lena Brooks, an Oakland resident who was driving to pick up three friends in El Cerrito, near the refinery, to get them out of the area. "We're high-tailing it out of here."

The blaze, which broke out about 6:40 p.m., was believed to have started in the processing center of the refinery, which is adjacent to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. No injuries were reported.

Under the shelter-in-place advisory, residents were told to bring pets inside, close doors and windows and turn off ventilation and air-conditioning systems, according to the Contra Costa County Health Services Department.


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Photo: Smoke drifts as fire burns at Chevron oil refinery in Richmond. Credit: Lena Brooks