Oil Field Fire - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

01/31/08-Anderson County

Oil Field Fire

by Tashun Chism

Black smoke and flames could be seen from miles away as authorities fought to put out a massive oil field fire in Anderson County near Slocum.

One oil field worker, Larry Butcher, said, "We were coming up the road there where it was at and there was a truck coming up toward us. We saw smoke so we just just put it in reverse and hauled butt!"

The fire started when several oil tank batteries caught on fire. No one was injured, but 600 gallons of oil were lost. High winds gave fire fighters a hard time and kept them fighting the blaze almost all day long.

Slocum Fire Department Chief Ben Missildine told us, "It was too dangerous for our guys so we just backed away and let it burn to keep everybody safe. We had flames as far as 120 up in the air."

The slocum area has almost 100 different pumping wells, so fighting oil fires is nothing new to them. But today's was diffferent.

"We've had one or two at a time on fire but never anything of this magnitutde right here. So that's why we had eight departments come in," Missildine said.

Some of those departments included Elkhart, Palestine and Grapeland. In a combined effort, they were eventually able to put the fire out with foam tanks.

"There's a three inch gas line. All these wells make gas and I can tell you one thing, if they had blown, it would be worse than it is," Butcher said.

Authorities suspect lighting may have struck the tanks during this morning's storm. The cause of the fire is still unknown and is under investigation. KTRE will keep you updated on that investigation.

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