East Bay News

Crews extinguish small fire at Martinez Shell Refinery

Monday, August 13, 2012
Hazmat crews were called to the Shell Refinery in Martinez after a fire was reported Monday afternoon.

Hazmat crews were called to the Shell Refinery in Martinez after a fire was reported in a light oil processing area just after 2 p.m. Monday.

Although it was initially classified as a level two emergency and a health advisory was issued, it was quickly downgraded to a level one situation, meaning there is no threat to the surrounding community.

The fire was reported at 2:10 p.m. and was extinguished by Shell's response fire crews in about 10 minutes. Crews continued to put water on the unit to cool it down.

Officials said that flames seen rising from the smokestacks Monday afternoon were part of a process called flaring that reduces pressure in the system.

The small blaze takes place exactly one week after the massive fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond. According to Randy Sawyer, chief environmental health and hazardous materials officer for Contra Costa Health Services, the health advisory was issued as a precaution, "Especially with what happened last week, they were erring on the safe side."

The health advisory was lifted at 3:10 p.m. No injuries were reported.

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