A huge fire soared through the sky on Monday as Chevron’s Richmond oil refinery got caught up in a raging blaze after a series of explosions. As workers were told to evacuate immediately after the detection of leaked diesel tank, there were no fatalities or injuries recorded. Minutes after the explosion, residents of the Bay area community were told to stay indoors and close their windows to avoid inhalation of toxic fumes. However, some of them turned up in emergency rooms complaining of breathing problems, sore and itchy eyes and burning throat. But health officials are relieved about the fumes from crude oil and diesel fuel being carried skyward due to the winds.
The hazardous smoke rising in the air has prompted officials to issue shelter-in-advisories for residents in Richmond, North Richmond and San Pablo as well for El Cerrito. A community advisory is issued for residents of Oakland hills by the Oakland Police Department. The smoke from the blaze packed with hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide can cause throat and eye irritation and breathing problems to those already suffering from asthma.
In the meantime, fire crew continued to battle the massive blaze at the refinery that had risen 4,000 feet into the air. Initially, private firefighters from Chevron, Dow Chemical, Phillips and Shell tried to contain the fire but now state fire personnel have been sent to monitor the emergency.
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