Regulators detect pollution from Richmond refinery fire

  • Smoke billows from a crude oil unit at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif., Monday, Aug. 6, 2012. Officials have told residents of Richmond and San Pablo to shelter-in-place as the fire at a Chevron refinery in Richmond releases plumes of black smoke. (AP Photo/The Contra Costa Times, D. Ross Cameron) NO SALES MAGS OUT LOCALS PLEASE CREDIT

RICHMOND — Air quality regulators say they were wrong about pollution caused by the Chevron refinery fire in Richmond.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District originally said that air samples taken during Monday's fire showed that toxic air contaminants were below levels considered safe by federal health officials.

On Thursday the district said its "initial statement was incorrect." In one of eight samples taken throughout Richmond, levels of the toxic compound acrolein were above the federal standard.

The air district also says the refinery fire generated smoke containing particulate matter that is the likely source of health complaints by Richmond residents.

After the fire erupted and sent plumes of black smoke into the sky Monday night, hundreds of people showed up at local hospitals complaining of respiratory problems.

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