Fire chief: Tank explosion cause of Center fire - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Fire chief: Tank explosion cause of Center fire

Photo courtesy of ShelbyCountyToday.com Photo courtesy of ShelbyCountyToday.com

(KTRE) - A diesel tank explosion caused a fire at a manufacturing plant in Center Thursday afternoon, according to the Center Fire Department.

According to Fire Chief Keith Byndom, a malfunction of a tank seal caused air to mix with diesel fuel and caused the tank to explode at the Omni plant, located at the intersection of Loop 500 and U.S. 84 South.

The plant is a relatively new business in Center, Byndom said, and his department had not had a chance to do a walk-through of the facility. However, Byndom said the plant did an excellent job of following a safety plan. The tank itself was designed to explode up, instead of out, to prevent more explosions.

"The explosion blew the top of the tank 50 yards, and that top landed about 50 yards from the tank," Byndom said.

Byndom said the fire department arrived at the scene shortly after the fire was called in, around 4:15 p.m. They immediately began pouring foam in the tank to extinguish the fire and also sprayed the tank on the outside to cool it, to keep other tanks from exploding.

"There was a lot of danger for about 20 minutes, then everything went back to normal," Byndom said. "The fire department did a great job. The guys got their quickly did everything by the book. They actually used some forklifts on the site to get a more direct attack at the tanks."

Nobody was injured in the fire. The Omni plant is a recycling plant which uses drilling mud to make useful items.

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