"Chevron Workers Faulted in Refinery Leak"

"A lab analysis released by federal investigators Wednesday confirmed suspicions that a Chevron firefighter's sharp, pole-mounted device punctured an already leaking oil pipe at the company's Richmond refinery before the line caught fire in August."

"The damage inflicted by the implement, called a pike, may have worsened the chemical-vapor leak from the pipe and contributed to the scope of the ensuing fire, federal investigators say.

The blaze destroyed part of the refinery and sent a cloud of vapor and smoke thousands of feet into the air over Richmond and surrounding cities, prompting 15,000 people to visit hospitals complaining of respiratory and other problems. Chevron has said it hopes to have the refinery back in full operation by next month."

Jaxon Van Derbeken reports for the San Francisco Chronicle February 13, 2013.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, 02/14/2013