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Power Outage Causes Flaring At Tesoro Refinery; Black Smoke Reported

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Flames seen billowing from a stack during a prior incident at the Tesoro Refinery. (CBS)

Flames seen billowing from a stack during a prior incident at the Tesoro Refinery. (CBS)

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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (KCBS)— A power outage caused problems Friday at the Tesoro Refinery in the Pacheco area of Contra Costa County. Officials at the county’s Hazardous Materials Department confirmed that the outage at the refinery, just north of Concord, was first reported around 11 a.m. and that lead to flaring.

Refinery officials were on the scene trying to inject steam into the flares to reduce the amount of black smoke emitting from the stacks.

Randy Sawyer, spokesman with the county’s hazmat department, said there was no shelter in place order issued, but that he was concerned about the potential hazards of the particulate matter from the black smoke for those with respiratory problems.

Sawyer said when the refinery loses its power, the plant must release their gasses at a higher pressure into the flare system causing the unusual smoke emissions.

“There’s a lot of black smoke coming out of the flares,” he said adding that people with pre-existing conditions like asthma may want to “stay out of the area or stay inside”.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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