Residents in Richmond, California are being told to shelter in place after a fire broke out at the Chevron refinery shortly after 6:30 p.m. this evening. Warning sirens are ringing throughout the Richmond area and a thick black smoke cloud is visible for miles.
KTVU reports that the shelter in place order impacts residents of Richmond, North Richmond and San Pablo. The community is under a level-3 warning, which indicates that the smoke from the Chevron refinery fire may cause eye, skin and respiratory problems for anyone who inhales it.
It is unclear whether any workers suffered burns or other serious injuries in this fire. Emergency crews, fire fighters and the media are at the scene.
Contra Costa Health Services sent out an automated message urging residents to go inside and close all of their windows and doors. Residents are also advised to turn off their air conditions, fans and cover cracks and doors with damp towels to keep out potentially toxic smoke.
Early reports indicate that no explosions have occurred and that a pump leak from a crude unit column may be to blame for the fire.
Residents who experience serious respiratory injuries as a result of this fire are urged to seek medical treatment immediately. Burn and smoke inhalation injuries can be exacerbated if not treated promptly, which is why it is important not to delay medical treatment for these potentially disabling injuries.
Source: KTVU, “Fire burns Chevron refinery in Richmond; residents urged to shelter in place,” Aug 6, 2012