About Air and Water

Monday, October 15, 2007

Firefighters battle processing plant fire near Keene

By ELIZABETH CAMPBELL - Fort Worth Star Telegram - Oct. 15, 2007

A worker at a salt water injection plant near Keene was injured today when equipment ignited a blaze inside a large pit.

Keene Fire Chief Matt Gillin said the worker was taken to Parkland Hospital by air ambulance, but he didn't know the extent of his burns.

"When I arrived, it was a complete ball of fire," he said. "We were lucky it wasn't any worse."

When firefighters arrived at the Bridgeport Tank Trucks LTD plant at the U.S. Highway 67 bypass, workers said a gasoline pump used in the process of separating a mixture of oil, sand and gravel from the salt water backfired, which caused the pit to erupt in flames.

The blaze also destroyed a tanker truck and a service vehicle parked near the pit.

The plant takes salt water used to fracture gas wells and stores it in containment wells, Gillin said. Part of the process involves separating oil, sand and gravel from the water. The oil was pumped into the pit before being transferrred to storage tanks. The pit is 100 feet wide and 10 feet deep, he said.

Firefighters were concerned that the fire would spread to several tanks where heavy oil is stored. They kept water on the tanks to keep them cool.

Several departments responded including Keene, Cleburne, Liberty Chappel, Joshua and Blue Water Oaks.

The fire was out by 4 p.m.

Read more

Read coverage on WFAA Channel 8

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