Thousands of claims filed over Chevron refinery fire in California, more expected
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Thousands of claims filed over Chevron refinery fire in California, more expected

Richmond : CA : USA | Dec 05, 2012 at 10:21 AM PST
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The number of claims against Chevron over a fire at its Richmond, Calif. oil refinery in August could approach 10,000, according to lawyers representing nearby residents.

Nearly 5,000 residents have already filed claims against the oil giant after the Aug. 6 fire, which sent 15,000 people to local hospitals.

Attorneys John Burris of Oakland and Tony Buzbee of Houston revealed the numbers as they filed an amended lawsuit Nov. 27 in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Richmond.

The claims filed Tuesday claim Chevron, the world's third largest oil company, failed to ensure the refinery was operating safely before the fire broke out when an already corroded oil pipe ruptured, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.

The lawsuits also claim that Chevron failed to alert residents that the pipe that eventually ruptured had been leaking for hours before the fire.

Chevron voluntarily set up a claims procedure for residents of Richmond, San Pablo and other nearby cities, and pledged to pay for fire-related medical bills and property damage.

"We do not believe any lawsuits are necessary, and we will defend them vigorously," the company said.

Smoke from the fire was visible in Solano County and many Vallejo and Benicia residents complained of ill effects.

The lawsuit claims an Oct. 2011 fire at the San Francisco Bay refinery put Chevron on notice that pipes needed replacing after a worker complained about corrosion.

Chevron's Richmond refinery refines 240,000 barrels of crude oil daily and is the largest oil refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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A black cloud rises overhead from the Aug. 6, 2012, fire at the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, Calif. Photo: Luciferwildcat/Wikimedia Commons
Nathan Salant is based in San Francisco, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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  • A black cloud rises overhead from the Aug. 6, 2012, fire at the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, Calif. Photo: Luciferwildcat/Wikimedia Commons

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  • A black cloud rises overhead from the Aug. 6, 2012, fire at the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, Calif.	Photo: Luciferwildcat/Wikimedia Commons

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