- Associated Press - Friday, December 19, 2014

RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) - Company and fire officials say large flames and a cloud of smoke seen over the Chevron refinery in Richmond are no cause for alarm.

KTVU-TV reports the Richmond Fire Department dispatched crews Thursday night but turned them around when the refinery told them it is a normal flaring operation.

Chevron says in its Twitter account that the flaring was to allow equipment to de-pressurize. It says it is part of refinery operations.

The flare could be seen from miles away and social media users flooded Twitter with photographs of it and comments wondering if there is a fire.

A 2012 fire at the refinery prompted more than 15,000 people to seek treatment for respiratory and other discomforts after the blaze.

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