Processing Magazine

Heaters may have sparked refinery fire, investigators say

August 16, 2012

RICHMOND, Calif. — Investigators say fired heaters might have sparked the Aug. 6 blaze at Chevron Corp.’s refinery in Richmond, Calif., Bloomberg reported.

Video surveillance shows a large vapor cloud spewing from a leaky pipe moments before the fire occurred.

According to Dan Holmstrom, the lead investigator for the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, fired heaters could have been a possible ignition source.

"Typically in refineries there are fired heaters that have an open flame. There are a number of (possible) sources of ignition," Holmstrom said.

Emergency vehicles responding to the leaky pipe are also possible ignition sources as diesel-powered trucks and generators have been known to cause other large refinery fires.

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