Martinez refinery says raccoon caused intense flaring

A raccoon allegedly broke into the Martinez Refining Company and caused a power interruption that resulted in last week's flaring at the refinery.

The company said in an incident report to the Contra Costa Health Services' Hazardous Materials Programs that the masked marauder got into a refinery substation on Dec. 22, causing the substation to suffer a three-phase fault in a capacitor bank and a breaker to open "that resulted in a loss of equipment across the refinery.

The power interruption resulted in seven minutes of flaring.

The report acknowledged that the initial required report to the county was "made outside the 15-minute requirement for initial notification," due to personnel using the wrong time on the first notification, which it said was corrected.

The required 72-hour report, dated Dec. 23, came a day after the incident. The refinery said it's investigating why the time mistake was made and will take "corrective actions."

The report didn't say what happened to the raccoon.