Firefighting crews pour water onto a unit after a fire at a Chevron refinery on Aug. 7, 2012 in Richmond, Calif. (AP Photo/The Contra Costa Times, Aric Crabb)
California workplace safety officials have fined Chevron $1 million in connection with a fire last year at the company's San Francisco Bay Area refinery that sent a cloud of gas and black smoke over residential areas.
The state's Division of Occupation Safety and Health said Wednesday that its investigators found "willful violations" in Chevron's response before, during and after the Aug. 6 fire in Richmond.
The agency says the company didn't follow the recommendations of its own inspectors and scientists to replace the corroded pipe that ultimately ruptured and caused the fire. They also charged the company with not following its own emergency shutdown procedures when the leak was identified.
Smoke and gas from the fire prompted thousands of people to seek medical treatment, with many complaining of eye irritation and breathing problems.