Fire contained at Contra Costa County energy facility

Data pix.

CROCKETT -- A fire broke out Tuesday and spread to two storage tanks at a Contra Costa County energy facility, sending a plume of dark, hazardous smoke into the air.

The latest on the fire at the NuStar Energy facility in Crockett:

10:33 p.m.

Crockett-Carquinez Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Dean Colombo told reporters late Tuesday night that water and foam will be put on the destroyed tanks throughout the night.

Along with the two tanks that were destroyed, two other tanks were damaged by the flames but are still functional, according to Colombo.

Engineers and specialists will be brought in to assess the damage.

Colombo said officials are confident that the risk of another flare-up is "minimal."

Residents in the community of Tormey have started to return home. People who have been staying inside should open their windows and doors to air out their homes, according to Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Specialist Ellen Dempsey.

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9:38 p.m.

County health officials say the shelter in place orders for Crockett, Rodeo and Hercules have been lifted after people were forced to stay indoors for hours.

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9:25 p.m.

Interstate 80 has reopened in both directions, according to the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

The interstate had been closed for hours and the California Highway Patrol was expecting it to reopen closer to midnight.

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9:05 p.m.

The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District reports the fire at the NuStar Energy facility is contained.

Hazmat teams will work to determine the current health threats created by the fire, which sent up a hazardous plume of smoke while it was burning the storage tanks. People in the surrounding communities of Crockett, Rodeo and Hercules have still been ordered to stay inside.

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8:30 p.m.

Flare-ups at the energy facility have continued into the night and firefighters are still trying to protect surrounding tanks from the flames.

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6:07 p.m.

Contra Costa County Fire Public Information Officer Steve Hill told reporters at a press conference that only two tanks were burning and not three as was previously reported. Both tanks contained a combined 250,000 gallons of ethanol before one of the tanks collapsed.

Firefighters are trying to keep three surrounding tanks, which are holding ethanol and jet fuel, cool, according to Hill.

Hill reports the fire that spread to the grass surrounding the tanks has been contained at 15 acres.

People in Crockett and Rodeo have been told to continue staying inside. The community of Tormey was evacuated shortly after the fire was reported around 1:50 p.m.

Both directions of Interstate 80 will be closed until at least midnight, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Units with Chevron, Shell, Marathon, Phillips and Corteva have brought in specialized equipment to put foam on the flames.

Contra Costa County Fire Protection District investigators are at the scene and trying to determine what caused the fire.

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5:30 p.m.

"Right now our big concern is putting this fire out," said Contra Costa County Fire Capt. George Laing. "We really want to make sure that if there's a leak in one of these tanks or other some source of fuel, that we're addressing the fuel leak and allow us to extinguish the fire."

Two hundred firefighters and support staff are on the scene fighting the fires with water and foam.

Around 167,000 gallons of ethanol are in one of the tanks, according to fire officials.

Witness Torrie Newman captured an explosion at one of the NuStar tanks, which sent a fireball into the air.

Data pix.
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4:30 p.m.

Cal Fire says the vegetation fire surrounding the facility has burned 15 acres and is 20% contained but crews are having trouble accessing the fire because it is so close to the burning tanks.

KRON reports NuStar Energy released a statement, saying, "All personnel are safe and accounted for:"

NuStar immediately enacted its emergency response procedures. Adjacent tanks are being cooled to minimize the risk of the fire spreading. We have contacted all regulatory agencies.

The Interstate 80 closure has expanded to include both directions from Highway 4 in Hercules to Interstate 780 in Vallejo, according to the California Highway Patrol.

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4:15 p.m.

Contra Costa Health Services reports the fire at the facility broke out just before 2 p.m. Flames started burning two tanks, one that may be storing ethanol and one that is believed to be empty, according to CCHS.

CCHS says hazardous materials first responders and staff have been monitoring the scene. A community warning system was also activated.

No injuries have been reported.

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Previous report:

The fire has also burned 5 acres of vegetation surrounding the NuStar Energy storage tanks on San Pablo Avenue in Crockett, according to Cal Fire.

People living in and around Crockett and Rodeo have been told to stay inside and close all windows and doors as firefighters try to control the flames.

Both sides of Interstate 80 from Highway 4 to the Carquinez Bridge have been closed off due to the blaze. Caltrans says drivers heading west are being stopped at Pomona Street and those heading east are being turned away at Willow Avenue.

The cause of the blaze is unknown.

This story is developing.

Google Map for coordinates 38.048265 by -122.248007.

Storage Tank Fire

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