The combustible contents of several storage tanks at the NuStar Energy facility in Crockett caught fire Tuesday, crumbling at least one of the tanks and threatening others.
Nearby Interstate 80 was closed as people pulled to the side of the road to film the dramatic explosion and resultant fire. First responders reminded those in the downwind plume of the incident to avoid contact with the fumes and to shelter in place where possible.
At least one of the affected tanks was believed to have been filled with ethanol. The NuStar facility has 24 tanks carrying gasoline, diesel, aviation fuels, ethanol with pipeline connections to various refineries.
Local schools were locked down and sheltered in place, with reports of anxious parents attempting to reach children being met by school officials adhering to the shelter in place protocols.
Residents of Crockett And Rodeo were advised to stay inside and shelter in place: Turn off all heaters, air conditioners, and fans. Unless you are using your fireplace, close your fireplace dampers and vents. Cover any cracks around doors or windows with tape or damp towels. Stay off the phone unless you need to report a life-threatening emergency at your location.
Residents were advised to remain sheltered indoors until they receive further official instructions. Stay off the phones and do not call 911 unless they have a life threatening emergency.
There were reports of evacuations from Old Country Road in Crockett as firefighters raced to the area, firefighters from neighboring refineries arriving to help with the effort.
There were no immediate reports of injuries though ambulances were seen in the area.
There was also no immediate response to a comment placed on this site following last night’s 4.5 magnitude earthquake in which it was noted that earthquake sensors had been triggered at some area refineries – the poster asking if inspections were being conducted there.
This story is developing. There are aerial assets making drops on the blaze as it spreads and firefighters are marshaling assets to keep the blaze contained within the tank far, a cluster of linked tanks filled with combustibles.