Last night’s fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond put city residents in a state of panic. The fire sent up a huge plume of black smoke, stopping traffic, closing bridges, and shutting down BART stations.
The large-scale chemical fire still has local residents concerned for their health and safety. Many say they heard about the fire late, and that the multi-lingual phone system that is supposed to alert the diverse communities of Richmond in case of a disaster didn’t work.
It’s summer in California, which means fire season is in full force – and it could be the worst one in years. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, better known as CAL FIRE, responds to more than 5,000 wildfires each year. They protect more than 31 million acres of California’s privately-owned wildlands and provide emergency services for most of the state’s counties.
After a full shutdown of service between San Francisco and Oakland since early this morning, transbay BART service is now fully restored, but the agency is warning commuters to expect delays. AC Transit spokesman Clarence Johnson said at least 20 extra buses will shuttle passengers across the bay at no cost; 511.org is reporting that these buses will run until about 6pm. The San Francisco Bay Ferry service will also deploy two extra ferries per hour.