Investigators Seek To Determine Cause Of Fuel Tank Explosion

Holly Quan
October 16, 2019 - 2:09 pm
Two fuel tanks were destroyed in an explosion and fire at the NuStar Energy facility in Crockett on Oct. 15, 2019.

Holly Quan/KCBS Radio

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Before investigators figure out how and why a massive fire broke out Tuesday at a fuel storage facility in Crockett, crews still have to declare the area safe. 

Two ethanol tanks were destroyed in the explosion and fire that burned 252,000 gallons of fuel for more than six hours at NuStar Energy. But there's still residual ethanol in the site, which was a source of concern on Wednesday for firefighters and other workers. 

"We probably dodged some bullets here in the last 24 hours or so," said Contra Costa County Fire Protection District spokesman Steve Hill. 

Crews were trying to minimize vapor emissions and remove leftover gas, according to Hill. They also must inspect damaged pipes and valves. 

A day after the two fuel tanks were destroyed in a fire, workers were trying to remove leftover ethanol from the plant in Crockett before an investigation could begin on Oct. 16, 2019.
Holly Quan/KCBS Radio

Firefighters used 15,000 gallons of foam to stifle the flames. The Coast Guard had been on hand to make sure foam didn't contaminate the bay.

The fire led authorities to shut a section of Interstate 80 for seven hours on Tuesday. The closure caused traffic nightmares for commuters. 

County health experts don't expect to see lasting effects from the smoke, despite a shelter in place order that affected residents in Crockett, Rodeo and Hercules.