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Fire out at Richmond refinery

  • Smoke and flame billow from a crude oil unit at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif., Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. The facility makes high-quality products that include gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel and lubricants, as well as chemicals used to manufacture many other useful products. (AP Photo/ContraCosta Times, D. Ross Cameron )

SAN FRANCISCO — A fire at one of the nation's largest refineries spewed thick black smoke over cities in the San Francisco Bay Area, sending scores of residents to hospitals complaining of breathing problems.

The fire at Chevron's refinery in Richmond, about 10 miles northeast of San Francisco, was out early Tuesday morning, KGO-TV reported.

Chevron spokeswoman Heather Kulp, however, said at a 5 a.m. news conference that officials were conducting a controlled burn.

"This is ensuring that the incident continues to be maintained under control," she said.

Smoke and flames from the fire, which began around 6:15 p.m. Monday, could be seen for miles.

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