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Federal Team Standing By To Investigate Chevron Refinery Fire

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DougSovern20100908_KCBS_0208r Doug Sovern
Doug began his career as a copy boy at the New York Times, and then...
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RICHMOND (KCBS)— A federal team is standing by at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, ready to investigate Monday’s fire. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is waiting for the all clear to go inside to begin work, but that might not happen until Friday.

The team, sort of like the industrial accident version of the NTSB, will apply some of the same methods they used to investigate the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But firs,t Cal/OSHA must finish testing inside the crude oil unit where the vapor leak ignited.

Board member Mark Griffon said they’ll try to figure out why that leak occurred in the first place.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

“Our ultimate goal is to sort of look at what happened, the sequence of events leading up to the incident, but also the activities that transpired after the incident, including the emergency response and the community notification,” Griffon said.

Complete Coverage Of The Richmond Refinery Fire

Most of his seven-person team will be looking at root causes, contributing factors and communication problems.

“Obviously a refinery is different than a drilling rig. There are some commonalities. Our methods tend to be consistent,” Griffon added.

Griffon said it could take up to two years to say for sure what happened Monday when the chemical fire hurt four Chevron workers and prompted more than a thousand people to seek medical attention for respiratory problems.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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