National News

California refinery fire prompts shelter in place notification

Hazardous materials released in fire

(CNN) - Firefighters in Northern California were battling a blaze at a refinery on Tuesday, officials said.

Two large ethanol tanks were burning at a NuStar Energy facility in Crockett, located south of Vallejo, said Steve Hill, a Contra Costa County Fire Department spokesman. The department first tweeted that it was on the scene of a fire at the refinery at 2:48 p.m. local time.

Around 9 p.m., officials announced that the fire was contained. Several acres of vegetation near the tanks also caught fire. Those fires have also been contained, Hill said.

The blaze is confined to the NuStar facility, fire officials assured the public Tuesday night.

The fire prompted the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office to issue a shelter in place notification because of the release of hazardous materials from the fire. The shelter in place has been lifted, the fire department said.

County environmental health hazmat teams are working to asses the current health threat, fire officials said.

No one was injured in the fire, Hill said. All personnel are accounted for, NuStar Energy said in a statement.

More than 200 firefighters attacked the flames with foam and water, Hill said. Firefighters used water to cool adjacent tanks that were not on fire, officials said.

"It's really what's burning down in the tank farm. And you can still see active fire. There's flame and combustion," said George Laing, a Contra Costa County Fire Department Captain.

"There is active fire suppression down at the base of this hill where the tank farm is," he added.

The potential health concern is particulates in the air, said Ellen Dempsey, a hazardous materials specialist for Contra Costa County.

The two tanks contain about 250,000 gallons of ethanol, Hill said.

NuStar Energy said the two impacted tanks had less than 1% of the tank capacity.

Officials are holding a shelter in place for Crockett, Rodeo and the northern part of Hercules. Interstate 80 was shut down in both directions, but Contra Costa County Fire tweeted around 9:20 p.m. local time that both had reopened.

CNN's Jenn Selva contributed to this report.


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