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NLM Resources on Fires and Chemicals

Last night’s huge refinery fire spread thick, black smoke over the San Francisco area. Over 900 residents, complaining of respiratory and other problems, sought emergency care at local hospitals. The blaze occurred at Chevron Corporation’s plant in Richmond, about 10 miles northeast of San Francisco, around 6:15 p.m., and was contained by 11:00 p.m. The refinery is the largest producer of base oils on the West Coast, processing up to 240,000 barrels of crude oil a day into gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, which is about 15% of the state’s fuel-making capacity.

NLM has lists of resources on health effects of fires, wildfires, and smoke, with an emphasis on wildfires. Consumer health information on Fires is available on MedlinePlus in English and Spanish. Additional resources on Health Threats: Smoke is available on the Disaster Information Management Research Center’s (DIMRC) Fires and Wildfires webpage.

Chemical fires raise concern about the specific substances that may have burned. A refinery fire may involve crude oil, diesel fuel and other substances. For information on the health hazards of these specific chemicals, check Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER) for information on immediate response and Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB) for exhaustive information. Search by the name of the chemical.

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