Chevron U.S.A. has paid approximately $10 million in claims to compensate area hospitals, affected community members and local government agencies since its August fire at a refinery in Richmond, Calif., according to an update by the company released this week.
* On Aug. 6, 2012, a fire broke out due to a piping rupture at the oil refinery in Richmond, the report stated. Due to a high level of sulfur dioxide released with the emission, residents of Richmond, San Pablo and North Richmond were advised to stay indoors until the fire was controlled.
* Other materials released into the air from the fire include methane, non-methane hydrocarbon, hydrogen sulfide and nitric oxides.
* The Contra Costa Health Services website reported that a large number of people sought medical attention at local emergency rooms, mostly for minor complaints of nose, throat or eye irritation and respiratory issues. Three individuals were admitted to the hospital, Chevron stated.
* Some minor employee injuries were also reported with the incident, including burns, abdominal discomfort, respiratory irritation, blisters and bruises, the company stated.
* Air sampling in the surrounding area on Aug. 7-8 showed that the concentrations of hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide were below detection limits, the company stated.
* According to the company, a claims process was established in order to compensate community members for medical and property expenses that occurred because of the fire. As of Jan. 21, the company says about 23,900 claims have been initiated and it has paid $10 million in compensation.
* Chevron stated this week that its investigation of the incident is ongoing and that it is working with multiple governmental agencies to discover what caused the leak in the piping system that led to the fire.
* The Associated Press reported in early January that federal investigators believe that firefighters may have accidentally damaged the pipe while trying to put out a small flash fire that had been caused by a leak in the line. The larger damage in the pipe would have released more gas, and could have led to the larger fire.
* According to Reuters, Chevron -- the second-largest U.S. oil company -- is planning to bring the Richmond refinery back to full production this quarter. Even though it posted decreased refining input in the third quarter of last year because of the fire, the company's worldwide output was the was the highest it has been since mid-2011 at the end of the year.