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Refinery fire claims pile up; Martinez scare just error

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Chevron has already began to receive claims from victims of the Richmond refinery fire. - ALI THANAWALLA/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Ali Thanawalla/Special to the S.F. Examiner
  • Chevron has already began to receive claims from victims of the Richmond refinery fire.

About 1,000 claims have been filed since thick smoke and soot from a massive fire at Chevron’s Richmond refinery Monday evening sent 950 area residents to local hospitals, a Chevron spokesman said.

Claims for compensation to cover medical costs, wage losses and property damage have poured in since Chevron established a claims process through insurance services firm Crawford and Co., Chevron spokesman Sam Singer said, adding that he did not have a breakdown of the specific costs the claims sought to cover.

“Most of these claims were people who have gone to see a doctor, or complained of health issues, property damage or income loss,” he said.

At a news conference Wednesday, Chevron spokeswoman Heather Kulp encouraged anyone “who feels they have suffered any damage” to call the company’s claims hotline at (866) 260-7881.

Those who wish to file a claim in person will be able to do so at a yet-to-be-determined office location in Richmond by the beginning of next week, Singer said.

Meanwhile, residents in nearby Martinez were awakened Wednesday morning by automated calls and sirens after a false alarm was issued about an emergency at the Shell refinery.

Contra Costa Health Services quickly clarified that there was no emergency and another round of calls went out notifying residents that the earlier call was a mistake.

The incident unfolded when the refinery meant to alert Contra Costa Health Services of a Level 0 incident at the refinery involving a minor operational issue. Instead, the refinery told health services that there was a Level 3 incident.

The false alarm was reportedly caused by human error.