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Pipes At Chevron Refinery In Richmond Showed Major Corrosion

RICHMOND (KCBS) – Federal investigators with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board continue to conduct tests as they try to figure out what sparked a fire at Chevron's Richmond refinery last month.

Inspectors outlined their preliminary findings at the Richmond City Council meeting on Tuesday night. Although investigations are still ongoing, they said that they are learning more about the section of pipe that leaked and sparked the fire.

KCBS' Chris Filippi Reports:

U.S. Chemical Safety Board Western regional manager Don Holmstrom said the five-foot long section of pipe that failed has been removed for further testing.

"Adjacent to that failure point, the pipe had greatly thinned," he said. "In post incident measurements, those surviving sections had a wall thickness as low as about 1/16 of an inch."

He said the original pipe thickness was 5/16 of an inch.

Chevron refinery manager Nigel Hearne said the company takes full responsibility for what happened.

"I would like to show some recognition of fear and anger that I see demonstrated in the community. I think that's appropriate," Hearne said.

Investigators said that some nearby pipes were inspected in November of last year and now they want to know why the line that failed was not.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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