CSB deploys to fire and explosion at a Chevron Refinery in California

Published:  09 August, 2012

A seven-member investigative team from the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying to the scene of an explosion and fire that occurred Monday at the Chevron Refinery in Richmond, CA.

The team will be headed by Donald Holmstrom, director of the CSB’s Western Regional Office in Denver, and is expected to arrive Wednesday. Board Member Mark Griffon will accompany the team.

According to company officials the explosion and fire involved the release of vapour that found an ignition source. Four workers sustaining minor injures, several thousand members of the public were ordered to shelter in place.

CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “CSB investigations examine a wide range of safety issues such as effective process safety management and mechanical integrity. Our mission is to improve the safety of workers and the public.”

Nearly a thousand people went to emergency rooms complaining of dizziness and shortness of breath after the blaze at California's second-largest refinery sent plumes of black smoke across the San Francisco Bay area.

On August 6 a fire started at Chevron’s 4 Crude Unit at 6:15 pm – all employees were safely accounted and one employee suffered ‘a minor injury’.

On August 7 Chevron stated that the fire had been extinguished, and that a small controlled burn was being carried out to reduce pressure – the injury rate was then amended with an additional three employees who had sustained minor injuries.

On August 8, a small secondary fire ignited near the initial fire’s location, resulting in no injuries. 

  • Operation Florian

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