Chevron Response to Refinery Fire Under Criticism
John Marshall, Jonathan Fahey and Garance Burke
August 8th, 2012
Reader Views: 913
Investigators were looking at how a small, seemingly insignificant leak at one of the country’s biggest oil refineries quickly unraveled into an intense fire that sent acrid black smoke into the sky and hundreds of people to hospitals with health complaints.
The leak started as a drip at about 4:15 p.m. Monday, officials said. Chevron â€” which is required to “immediately” notify the public of any gas leak, fire or oil spill, according to state law â€” did not consider it an immediate danger to residents nearby.
“At that point in time, there really wasn’t anything we could advise the community to do,” said Mark Ayers, the refinery’s fire chief. “We surely wouldn’t advise anybody to shelter in place.”
The company’s engineers began stripping away insulation on the leaky pipe to investigate the source, which released a vapor of a flammable substance similar to diesel. About two and a half hours later, a conflagration had officials scrambling to warn residents to stay inside.
Chevron officials notified Contra Costa County so it could activate its emergency warning system, said Randy Sawyer, director of the county’s health services agency.
“We are still trying to determine whether Chevron gave timely notification,” Sawyer said.
Richmond’s mayor, some residents and community groups have criticized the company’s response as too slow, marking the latest conflict between Chevron and the area’s residents. The refinery has been the target of complaints and lawsuits by residents of the mostly low-income community about 10 miles northwest of San Francisco. The area is home to five major oil refineries.
Emotions ran high during a Tuesday night community meeting in Richmond, where hundreds of people heckled a panel of Chevron and local officials…
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
Contributed by John Marshall, Jonathan Fahey and Garance Burke of Canadian Business.
Please share: Spread the word to sheeple far and wide
Leave A Comment...
The Daily Sheeple Home Page