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Crosscurrents

Investigators still examining refinery fire

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On August 6, there was a major explosion and fire at Chevron’s Richmond refinery.  Reportedly, workers discovered that an old pipe, potentially in operation since the 1970s, was leaking. After about two hours, workers removed the insulation unit while the pipe was still processing crude, causing the explosion. Five workers were treated for minor injuries, but the Chemical Safety Board has called the accident a “near disaster” for refinery personnel. A shelter in place warning was issued for the community because of potential toxins in the air. And more than 11,000 residents went to the emergency room complaining of health problems.

Investigations into the cause of the fire are ongoing. But, inspectors need access to the site of the explosion, which is still considered too dangerous.  Robert Rogers, the Richmond reporter for the Bay Area News Group, has been following the story. He spoke with KALW’s Holly Kernan about the fallout of the fire.

Listen to the interview above.

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Holly Kernan is the architect of the award-winning Public Interest Reporting Project. She is currently news director at KALW 91.7FM in San Francisco. In 2009 she was named Journalist of the Year by the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Kernan teaches journalism at Mills College and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and has taught at Santa Rosa Junior College, Youth Radio and San Francisco State University's Lifelong Learning Institute. She lives in Oakland with her husband, Mike, daughter, Julia, and retired greyhound Benjamin Franklin.