SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — Chevron Corp. reportedly considered replacing a corroded Richmond refinery pipe nearly a year ago but decided it was good for another five years of service.

The 8-inch pipe leaked last week and its contents ignited into a massive blaze that sent choking smoke into Richmond neighborhoods. Thousands of residents arrived at hospitals with complaints of eye irritation and breathing difficulty.

Chevron officials examined the line that failed and a larger companion line linked to it in October.

Inspectors determined the pipe that failed may need to be replaced. Instead, it was cleared for five more years of service.

Federal and state officials were investigating the Aug. 6 leak and fire.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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