Investigators deem Benicia port fire unintentional in nature

A large fire that burned at the Benicia Port for about 24 hours last weekend appears to be unintentional in nature, though its exact cause remains under investigation, the city's fire chief said Tuesday.

The fire broke out around 12:20 p.m. Saturday near the Amports terminal at the base of a silo used for petroleum coke, also called petcoke, an oil refining byproduct, then spread along a conveyor belt to the dock, where it began burning alongside the underside of the pier.

Crews from multiple fire departments around the Bay Area responded to help put out the blaze, which wasn't extinguished until about 12:20 p.m. Sunday, city officials said.

Benicia Fire Chief Josh Chadwick said that electrical and mechanical causes haven't yet been ruled out as possible causes of the fire.

The Solano County Office of Emergency Services and the county's Department of Environmental Health, the state's Office of Emergency Services and Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Coast Guard, Bay Area Air Quality Management District and employees from the Valero refinery and Amports all responded to the blaze and many of those agencies will be involved in the damage assessment and cleanup of the site, according to the city.