A massive fire spotted as far as six miles from the site began raging Monday evening at at one of the processing units at the Chevron refinery in Richmond.
No injuries were immediately reported when the fire broke out about 6:30 p.m. But officials didn't take any chances. They ordered a level 3 shelter-in-place, telling residents in Richmond, North Richmond and San Pablo to go inside, close all windows and doors, turn off all heaters, air conditioners and fans.
Chevron has its own fire department with 60 firefighters, who were on site beating back flames. Surrounding local departments and hazardous materials teams were also on site, helping out.
Nitrogen and steam was pumped on the blaze to try to extinguish it.
A Chevron spokesperson said there was one minor injury, which was treated at the on-site facility.
The fire was contained and the fire marshall recommended that the shelter in place be lifted, at about 10:30 p.m. The county health department lifted the shelter in place at 11:12 p.m.
BART had closed down the Richmond station, but it reopened around 11:30 p.m.
No one was evacuated in the area.
Officials believe the cause of the fire was a diesel leak in unit 4.
This is not the first time there has been an issue with this plant. In 2006, there was an explosion at this plant that sent hundreds of people to the hospital. There also incidents in 1999 and 2007.
The last fire burned for 10 hours.
People from around the Bay Area took photos of what they could see. Here is a collection of some of their images.
Storified by NBC Bay Area · Mon, Aug 06 2012 19:21:00
RT @jaffeps: HUGE fire at Chevron's Richmond Refinery. http://pic.twitter.com/vr7KASfGTim Dickinson
Chevron refinery in Richmond is on fire!! http://twitpic.com/agdkbvTaylor
RT @kuyaGeorge: Refinery fire in Richmond can be seen for miles. Fuck. http://pic.twitter.com/dcob0nYqAdrian Capangpangan
#chevron #richmond refinery fire 7:10 pm from Arlington B El Cerrito #TwitPict http://twitpic.com/agdko6su02420
RT @brondmo: Huge fire in Richmond, CA. Looks like it's at the refinery. http://pic.twitter.com/T6awg2K7linda_her
BART stopping at El Cerrito not going to Richmond MT @mikejcorey: Pretty bad refinery fire in Richmond... http://pic.twitter.com/6WvKuDE1”Coulter Jones
RT @b0bm0rgan: Massive explosions and fire at Chevron refinery in my hometown of Richmond. http://pic.twitter.com/U71j5nqeDavid Amato
Fire at Chevron refinery in Richmond, with smoke reaching Pinole now. http://pic.twitter.com/38ZUEf0kEther
RT @HossfeldVyrds: You can see flames from here and huge plumes of smoke #Chevron Oil Refinery fire in Richmond , view from #napa http://yfrog.com/hs920frjroberrt
Two huge flames. Chevron refinery fire in Richmond, CA. http://pic.twitter.com/M8cBeIzIHillary Hartley
RT @LRiddellSF: Chevron refinery on fire. http://pic.twitter.com/ekq8CH1ZCaleb McNiece