Fire at Chevron Calif. refinery sparks harsh words from neighbors

Updated
 
Firefighters douse a flame at the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, Calif., August 6. A fire struck the core of Chevron Corp's large Richmond refinery in Northern California on Monday evening, sending flames and a column of smoke into the air and prompting authorities to order nearby residents indoors. The fire, which authorities said was still blazing more than two and a half hours after it erupted, hit the sole crude unit at the 245,000 barrel per day (bpd) plant, which accounts for one-eighth of the state's refining capacity.
Firefighters douse a flame at the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, Calif., August 6. A fire struck the core of Chevron Corp's large Richmond refinery in Northern California on Monday evening, sending flames and a column of smoke into the air and prompting authorities to order nearby residents indoors. The fire, which authorities said was still blazing more than two and a half hours after it erupted, hit the sole crude unit at the 245,000 barrel per day (bpd) plant, which accounts for one-eighth of the state's refining capacity.
Josh Edelson / Reuters

While national headlines worried over the impact that a fire at a high-production California Chevron refinery would have on gas prices, neighbors of the Richmond plant had safety and health issues on the mind. 

Local residents reportedly shouted “shut it down” during a a town hall meeting on the fire Tuesday night with Chevron and city officials. Others donned gas masks and booed.

“Does my grandchild have to look forward to having cancer?” one woman asked.

The refinery’s manager Nigel Hearne apologized to those in attendance and said the company is working to determining the cause of the fire. The company also offered a claims line where those impacted by the fire could request payment for health expenses and property damage.

Local officials said the fire did not raise the level of toxics in the air to unhealthy levels, but nearly 1,000 people headed to local emergency rooms. 

A plume of smoke emits from a fire that broke out at a Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, California August 6. Smoke pours from a fire at the Chevron Richmond Refinery, seen behind Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, Aug. 6. It was sending smoke over the Northern California cities of Richmond and San Pablo.

Oil, Energy and California

Fire at Chevron Calif. refinery sparks harsh words from neighbors

Updated