- Associated Press - Friday, August 10, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Chevron Corp. is bracing for an onslaught of legal claims after one of its Northern California refineries caught fire and sent thousands of people to area hospitals with complaints about respiratory problems and other ailments.

The San Ramon-based oil giant opened a claim center Friday in Richmond, and says it has received more than 2,000 calls to a claims hotline.

Richmond lawyer Nick Haney, who has had long lines outside his office, says he expects to represent about 3,000 residents with legal claims. Haney says he hopes to negotiate a settlement with the company before filing lawsuits.

Nearly everyone who sought medical attention immediately after the Monday evening fire at Chevron’s Richmond refinery was treated and released after spending a few hours at the hospital.

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