TX Saltwater Tank Fire Closes Roads

Monday, November 21, 2016 @ 04:11 PM gHale

A DeWitt County, TX, energy company’s saltwater disposal tank caught fire Tuesday, prompting a half-mile closure along SH 72 between Yorktown and Nordheim.

Firefighters got the call at 4:08 p.m. of a saltwater tank that exploded, said a DeWitt County dispatcher said.

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The tank is at Basic Energy Services facility on Thieme Road near SH 72.

Although no injuries in the incident, smoke from the fire caused the county to immediately close half a mile of SH 72 east and west of Thieme Road, officials said.

DeWitt County Sheriff Jode Zavesky said the fire ended up contained and they think it started at a saltwater tank. He also said oil or oil residue in the saltwater is believed to have been the fuel source for the fire.

Because the tank ended up enclosed in a wall of fire-retardant material, firefighters decided to let the tank burn itself out, said Cyndi Smith, spokeswoman for DeWitt County’s Office of Emergency Management.

“At no time was the fire out of control,” she said.

Although the tank’s saltwater contained flammable chemicals, the liquid is not hazardous.

The Railroad Commission of Texas and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality are aware of the incident, Smith said.

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