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Bay Area briefs
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Feinstein calls for fed probe into gas price spike AC

RICHMOND  (AP) — California Sen. Dianne Feinstein is calling for a federal investigation into gasoline price spikes that followed a fire at the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond.

In a letter sent Tuesday to the Federal Trade Commission, Feinstein said the Aug. 6 blaze that damaged the state's third largest refinery did not affect gasoline supplies as some analysts forecast, yet prices still rose dramatically.

Feinstein said the price of gas in the state reached a high of $4.21, more than double the increase seen in average cost of a gallon of gas in the continental U.S.

On Tuesday, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in California was $4.12, up from $3.86 on Aug. 7.

The senator said the spikes "appear to be unjustified by supply and demand fundamentals."


Flights make emergency landings in Oakland

OAKLAND (AP) — Officials say two Southwest Airlines flights made emergency landings at Oakland International Airport within a two-hour span.

A Denver-bound flight from San Francisco with 143 passengers on board landed Tuesday in Oakland shortly before 8 a.m. because of cabin pressurization issues. Those passengers and the flight crew eventually boarded another flight.

Almost two hours later, reports of smoke in the cockpit forced a Reno-bound flight from Oakland to land just moments after taking off.

It was not immediately known if those 119 passengers on board got on another flight.

Rescue and fire crews stood by for both emergency landings. No injuries were reported.

An Oakland Airport spokeswoman says airport operations ran normally despite the multiple incidents.

Officials clear SF homeless makeshift encampment

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Officials have cleared out a San Francisco makeshift homeless encampment that has sprouted on Caltrain station property.

Department of Public Works crews on Tuesday hauled off up the homeless debris after the city began receiving numerous complaints of feces, urine, and rats at the site.

Authorities say several items the homeless left behind, including tents and cooking gear will be tagged and stored to be reclaimed later.

A homeless outreach team also began trying to convince the dozens of homeless on site either to return to their hometowns, accept a shelter bed or move into supportive housing.

Caltrain and CHP officials say a fence will be erected around the property to keep the homeless out from under the overpass.

Chevron will be held accountable for refinery fire

RICHMOND  (AP) — Agencies investigating the Chevron Corp. refinery fire have told Richmond residents that the petroleum giant will be held accountable.

The San Francisco Chronicle says U.S. Chemical Safety Board investigators faced a skeptical and sometimes angry crowd of about 50 people during Monday's meeting in City Council chambers.

More than 14,000 people sought treatment after the Aug. 6 refinery blaze sent a massive plume of black smoke over neighborhoods.

Most complained of troubled breathing and eye irritation, and on Monday, some residents said they are suffering from lingering health problems.

Safety Board lead investigator Dan Tillema told the Richmond residents that the lessons learned from the Richmond fire will be used to prevent future accidents.