Chevon says it's paid $10 million in claims from August fire -- so far

Chevon says it's paid $10 million in claims from August fire -- so far

Richmond : CA : USA | Jan 30, 2013 at 1:54 PM PST
Views: Pending

Oil giant Chevron announced this week that it had paid $10 million in health-related claims arising from a fire at a Northern California refinery that sent thousands to area hospitals.

In a report filed with public health officials in Contra Costa County, where the Richmond, Calif., refinery is located on the shore of San Francisco Bay, the oil company also said it had started taking "corrective actions" as a result of the fire.

The fire sent up thick, black smoke that was visible for miles and forced residents of Richmond and nearby cities to shelter in their homes for hours after the massive fire broke out.

Federal investigators have said that responding Chevron firefighters may have accidentally punctured a main pipeline that sparked the massive blaze, according to CBS News in San Francisco.

Nearly 24,000 health claims were filed, Chevron said, after the company said it would pay for documented injuries or damage and opened a claims center convenient to nearby residents.

The $10 million paid so far covered "valid" claims and reimbursements to local agencies and medical facilities, Chevron's report said.

But the money paid so far does not include thousands of personal injury claims already filed against Chevron by local residents, according to Oakland, Calif., attorney John Burris, lead attorney for a group of plaintiffs he said totalled more than 10,000.

Plaintiffs' lawsuit claims Chevron officials failed to ensure the refinery was operating safely and took too long to assess the problem, which started out as a small leak but became an out-of-control fire after a few hours, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.

Burris said residents who receive a payment from Chevron for health claims are not precluded from suing the oil company for damages, the newspaper said.

Chevron also faces the possibility of millions of dollars in state fines for violations of worker safety laws at the refinery, the newspaper said.

Results of a state safety investigation are expected to be released this week.

In a letter sent with their report to the county on Monday, Chevron officials promised to undertake safety upgrades at the refinery and improve training of managers, inspectors and engineers at the facility.

Oil company officials have admitted knowing about corrosion in the pipeline that sprang a leak, but opted not to replace it during a maintenance operation in November 2011, the newspaper said.

"We also are making certain that we have the appropriate technical resources to assist in any evaluation of the fitness of equipment for service," Steve Wildman, the refinery's manager of process safety, said in the letter.

Chevron was faulted after the fire by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board for violating company standards and protocols on when to replace corroded pipes, the newspaper said.

1 of 1
Richmond refinery fire
Smoke from the August 2012 refinery fire in Richmond, Calif., is seen from the Solano Avenue onramp to Interstate 80 in Richmond. Chevron said this week it had already paid $10 milion in medical costs to arera residents. Luciferwildcat/Wikimedia Commons
Nathan Salant is based in San Francisco, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
Report Credibility
  • Clear
  • Share:
  • Share
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear
  • Clear

News Stories

  • Chevron fined $1 million for Calif. refinery fire

      Seattle Post Intelligencer
    Calif. (AP) California workplace safety officials have fined Chevron Corp. $1 million in connection with a fire last year at the company's San Francisco Bay area refinery that sent a cloud of gas and black smoke over residential areas. The state's...
  • Chevron hit with nearly $1 million fine for 'serious violations of safety ...

      The Mercury News
    A state agency said Wednesday it has decided to slap Chevron with a nearly $1 million fine in connection with a disastrous fire in early August at the company's Richmond refinery. There were serious violations of safety standards," Melton said. The...
  • Chevron fire: State seeks nearly $1M fine

      San Francisco Chronicle
    Chevron should be fined nearly $1 million for violations of worker safety laws stemming from the Richmond refinery fire in August, California regulators said Wednesday. Chevron had failed to properly account for the risk of corrosion to pipes such as...
  • Chevron fined nearly $1M for Calif. refinery fire

      The Bellingham Herald
    Chevron was fined nearly $1 million by the state on Wednesday in connection with a fire at the company's San Francisco Bay area refinery last year that sent a cloud of gas and black smoke over residential areas. The California Division of Occupation...
  • State fines Chevron $1 million for Richmond refinery fire

      Los Angeles Times
    California safety officials ordered Chevron Corp. to pay nearly $1 million in penalties for safety violations that led to a massive fire last summer at a refinery at Richmond in the San Francisco Bay Area. In all, the state Division of Occupational...
  • Chevron faces record fine for refinery fire

      India Abroad
    C alifornia has slapped nearly $1 million in fines on Chevron for safety violations related to an August fire at its refinery in Richmond, representing the biggest such penalties in the state's history, regulators said on Wednesday. Chevron received...



More From Allvoices

Report Your News Got a similar story?
Add it to the network!

Or add related content to this report

Most Commented Reports

Use of this site is governed by our Terms of Use Agreement and Privacy Policy.

© Allvoices, Inc. 2008-2014. All rights reserved. Powered by PulsePoint.