The city of Richmond, Calif. filed a lawsuit against Chevron Corp. on Friday, accusing it of willful negligence that led to last year’s enormous refinery fire. That fire, and the smoke from it, put thousands of people in the hospital.

A pipeline rupture at the refinery started the blaze last August, and kept the refinery out of business until April. A fireball spit into the sky and left a smoke cloud that remained over Richmond and its environs for several days, causing respiratory problems for thousands of citizens.

Richmond’s complaint alleges that the fire was completely avoidable and that Chevron put off inspections and repairs, and ignored repeated warnings about corroded pipes. The company “sacrificed safety over profits,” the lawsuit says.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board in April said that California’s regulatory system needs stricter standards to keep accidents like this from happening.

Read more at Reuters.

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