Chevron says it doesn't know yet when natural gas will start flowing again through a 24-mile-long pipeline that was shut down this week after a fire in eastern Contra Costa County threatened the line and forced thousands of people from their homes.
The 12-inch high-pressure pipeline carries natural gas from Pittsburg to the oil company's Richmond refinery. It runs through an underground utility vault that caught fire late Wednesday.
The California Public Utilities Commission and the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District are investigating the incident, which not only prompted residential evacuations but also shut down nearby rail lines and closed an elementary school. About a dozen public agencies responded.
"It is still too early to say when the pipeline will restart," said Braden Reddall, a Chevron spokesman.
Teams from Chevron will inspect the line, test its integrity and assess damage, Reddall said.