“The sirens will continue to resound every thirty minutes until the all clear.” But we are all clear, or pretty near to it, at the southern tail of El Cerrito curled against the Berkeley hills. Before it got dark we had a good view of the coal-colored cloud extending sideways over Richmond. Chevron’s refinery does this every few years, though not always at such volume; Standard Oil built it in 1901 and it’s been the biggest employer in the city ever since, except when there was a war on. So it has a lot to do with Richmond being Richmond. “We call Chevron 'Thunder Dome,'” said a local on the news, “because when it blows, it blows.”
The emergency response was quick and thorough. J. says it must be a dry run for the quake, or whatever else is coming. The northern BART stations have been shut down, and the track across the street that usually reminds us of our metropolitan area has gone silent.
Repeating myself from a few years ago: Oil and Water (title track).
See also: South Side Richmond.