An explosion and fire at an energy facility in unincorporated Contra Costa County has closed down a highway and prompted a shelter-in-place alert for parts the region, according to officials.
Interstate Highway 80 is shut down in both directions between state Highway 4 and the Carquinez Bridge on Tuesday afternoon due to a fire burning at the NuStar Energy facility in Rodeo.
The California Highway Patrol began receiving 911 calls about the fire around 1:50 p.m.
County Supervisor John Gioia wrote on Twitter that the location is a “tank farm facility adjacent to the Phillips 66 Refinery in Rodeo.”
The explosion was felt for miles, Gioia said, and residents in Rodeo and Crockett have been asked to shelter in place.
Randy Sawyer, chief environmental health and hazardous materials officer for Contra Costa County, said around 2:45 p.m. that hazardous materials specialists were en route, and the initial fire also ignited a grass fire.
Steve Hill, a spokesman for the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, said that while the district is not the lead agency on the fire, they are sending resources to assist.
Sheriff’s deputies say a number of road closures have been issued in the area.
Contra Costa Health Services has issued a statement calling the fire a “hazardous materials emergency,” advising nearby residents to go inside, close all windows and doors and turn off all heaters, air conditioners and fans.
People are advised to close fireplace vents as well, and consider covering any cracks around doors and windows with tape or damp towels. People in the area have also been asked to stay off their phones and avoid tying up 911 dispatchers with additional reports unless a new emergency occurs.
More information about how to shelter in place is available on the county’s website at https://cchealth.org/emergencies/shelter-in-place.php.
Major refinery fire in Rodeo, please shelter in place. Literally blew the top off of the facility. pic.twitter.com/UvOw3AEKIY
— efrain (@5whiteboy10) October 15, 2019
They said it would burn itself soon. Don’t think that’s going to happen. Crocket, California refinery holding tanks. pic.twitter.com/dgcXD1lxwW
— Vato De La Mission (@BombizSFM) October 15, 2019