A fuel storage facility fire in the San Francisco Bay Area prompted a hazardous materials emergency Tuesday afternoon.
Authorities have lifted shelter-in-place orders for some 12,000 people in Northern California after containment of a fire at a fuel storage facility that sent up a huge cloud of smoke.
Emergency sirens blared and thick plumes of black smoke and flames filled the skyline around the NuStar Energy LP facility in Crockett, California, about 30 miles northeast of downtown San Francisco.
The fire was finally contained at about 9 p.m. and county health officials lifted the shelter-in-place health orders after determining that the air quality was safe, officials said at a news conference.
The primary concern to the public was unhealthy air quality caused by hazardous particulates spewing from the fire.
The tanks were part of a cluster of fuel storage facilities along an industrial span next to the Carquinez Strait, a major shipping thoroughfare and a key oil hub.
The NuStar facility is also close to Interstate 80, one of the busiest highways in the San Francisco Bay Area, which officials shut down Tuesday afternoon, causing massive backups at the height of evening rush hour.
Contra Costa Fire Department spokesman Steve Hill said the two burning tanks contained about 250,000 gallons of ethanol and firefighters were trying to keep the blaze from spreading to other tanks storing jet fuel.
About 200 firefighters were battled the blaze.
In a statement, NuStar Energy said it was cooling nearby tanks to minimize the spread of fire but provided few other details. The company is a fuel storage and pipeline operator based in San Antonio.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.