Massive fire at refinery in Crockett sends flames, black smoke into air

Massive fire at refinery in Crockett sends flames, black smoke into air

SFGATE, by Katie Dowd, Tuesday, October 15, 2019, 3:33 pm PDT
[BenIndy Editor: Alert Solano sent out this message by text and email at 3:27pm today.:  “Benicia Fire Department is currently monitoring the fire at the Nustar Refinery in the Crockett area of Contra Costa County. We are monitoring the air quality in town. As of this time, there are no impacts to Benicia from this incident. We will provide updates as more information becomes available.”  – R.S.]
A fire in Crockett sent flames and black smoke into the Bay Area on Oct. 15, 2019. Photo KTVU

A massive fire has broken out at a NuStar Energy facility in Crockett, sending plumes of flame and thick black smoke into the air on Tuesday afternoon.

The Vallejo Fire Department confirmed to KTVU the fire started in the NuStar Energy storage tanks on San Pablo Ave. Television reports indicate there may have been an explosion as well.

Aerial footage shows at least two storage tanks appear to be fully engulfed. The hills behind the tanks, which are golden with dry grass, have also caught fire. An airplane is currently conducting air drops on the hills.

A video posted to YouTube shows the top of one of the storage tanks being flung into the air as the fire rages.

Nearby residents in Crockett, Hercules and Rodeo should shelter in place and keep their windows closed, as the black smoke could contain contaminants that are hazardous to those with lung problems.

“Go inside, and close all windows and doors. Turn off all heaters, air conditioners, and fans,” cautioned the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office. “Unless you are using your fireplace, close your fireplace dampers and vents. Cover any cracks around doors or windows with tape or damp towels.”

HEADS UP, COMMUTERS: The NuStar fire has closed I-80

NuStar Energy L.P. is a San Antonio-based company that bills itself as “one of the largest independent liquids terminal and pipeline operators in the nation.” Contra Costa County District One Supervisor John Gioia said on KTVU that their tanks “store products for local refineries.”

“There was an explosion there,” Gioia said. “A couple tanks are on fire.”

A Phillips 66 refinery is located next door, but does not appear to have incurred any damage.

The cause of the explosion and fire are still unknown. No injuries have yet been reported.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated when more information becomes available.

Katie Dowd is an SFGATE Senior Digital Manager.
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