East Bay News
Shell investigates flaring incident at Martinez refinery
MARTINEZ (KGO) -- For the second day in a row, hazmat crews responded to an emergency at the Shell oil refinery in Martinez.
The incident started Tuesday around 12:30 p.m. when a leak of butane and propane gas caused a plume of black smoke. Officials say the smoke was not caused by a fire, but by a flare, which is a procedure used to burn off excess gas and prevent an explosion.
Workers were able to trace the odor to a piece of equipment called a pressure relief valve, which is one of many pieces of equipment used to process oil. Workers were immediately evacuated for safety reasons while crews tried to close it down.
The incident caused a level two warning, meaning it had the potential to spread beyond the plant and that residents with pre-existing respiratory conditions and those sensitive to odors should shelter-in-place. According to Shell, air samples were taken but no harmful readings were detected. The leak was capped by 3 p.m.
"We don't know the root cause yet," Shell spokesperson Steve Lesher said. "But we were able to isolate the equipment and our people are in the process of shutting it down. So we'll have that shut down while we figure it out."
The refinery is continuing operations as the investigation gets underway. Shell would not comment on how this incident will affect its output.
On Monday the refinery had a small fire in a different location at the plant. That fire was extinguished in about 15 minutes.
Both incidents are under investigation.
martinez, fire, east bay news
- Medical examiner: 24 dead in Oklahoma tornado 50 min ago
- Firefighters save Vallejo man in apartment fire
- Man goes missing after Bay to Breakers race
- Bay Area residents in DC protest against banks
- Photos: Tornado rips through Oklahoma City area 32 min ago
- Victims hope to get money back from lending scheme
- Man dies after fall during Bay to Breakers party
- Norman Wielsch sentenced to 14 years in prison
- 5-year-old killed in rollover crash in Richmond
- 4-alarm grass fire burns 8 acres in Orinda
- Silver Creek HS sophomore killed in bike accident
- Yahoo takes big leap with $1.1B deal for Tumblr
- roundup: Orinda fire; Obama coming to Bay Area 10 min ago
- weather: Bay Area weather forecast for Tuesday
- Bay Area weather forecast for Tuesday
40 min ago