NEWARK (CBS SF) – Alameda County fire personnel, including a hazardous materials team, responded to a report of an explosion at an oil recycling facility in Newark Thursday night, an Alameda County fire battalion chief said.

A 55-gallon drum at Evergreen Oil Inc., located at 6880 Smith Ave., was off-gassing some type of smoke when firefighters arrived at 10:41 p.m., according to Alameda County fire Battalion Chief Kris Kerstetter.

Kerstetter said the oil drum that was gassing posed no danger to the public and no shelter-in-place order was given. None of the product made it into any storm drains or out of the facility.

Seventeen fire personnel arrived at the scene to work with plant staff. Six people from the hazmat team responded.

Crews determined only one drum that contained some sort of paint product was off-gassing, while six other drums holding other products were sitting at a warmer than usual temperature, according to Kerstetter.

The drums were cooled off and separated from other containers, the battalion chief said.

Based on an initial investigation it seems a chemical reaction caused the lid of the drum to pop and then gas.

Kerstetter said this type of reaction is not very common but it can happen, especially at a recycling center where different types of oil can be mixed together.

Crews were checking the contents of the barrels before fire personnel left the scene at 12:26 a.m. Friday morning, Kerstetter said.

The company’s website explains the facility is used to purify used oil and complex watery oils found in service bays, car washes and garages so it can be reused.

Last year, nearly to the day, an explosion and two-alarm fire at the refinery injured one employee and caused an acid spill.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has previously fined the company for 19 health and safety violations.

According to Cal/OSHA officials, as of late March 2011 Evergreen Oil was fined $5,095 for 19 health and safety violations uncovered during an investigation of a February 2007 complaint.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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