A thunderstorm dropped 1.5 inches of rain on Big Spring last Friday night as well as several lightning strikes that led to an explosion. The Howard County Volunteer Fire Department received a call just after midnight in northern Howard County where a set of 3 tank batteries were engulfed in flames. The location was County Road 36, just off North Highway 87.
HCVFD Chief Mitchell Hooper told KBest News that when they arrived on the scene the two middle tanks that were burning were already pressurized and venting out the top, so the department had to move back approximately half a mile to maintain safety. He said that the tanks had vented off 8 to 10 times before the blast.
“Both tanks vented off probably 8 to 10 times I guess before the one finally took off like a rocket. That’s one reason we stayed back, because of the high pressure and stuff coming out of the tanks. When they’re like that we just stay back and let em
burn until everything’s shut-in and we can go up there and safely put em out.”
Chief Hooper said that the explosion blew the top of the tank approximately 120 feet up into the air, and it landed about six inches away from Highway 87. It is for reasons exactly like this that Chief Hooper encourages onlookers to stay back.
“Before the tank ruptured, we had people driving by real slow and shootin'
videos… and then, right after the tank ruptured and took off, the other tank was still
there and it was still ventin' off. If we’re half a mile back, then you need to be back
even further cause those things can shoot off a mile sometimes and you don’t know
which way they’re gonna go," said Hooper.
Thankfully, no one was injured in the tank battery explosion last Friday night/Saturday morning, and in addition to the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department, Chief Hooper expresses his thanks to the Ackerly Fire Department for their assistance. One of the Howard County firefighters did catch the explosion on video, and it can be seen here on the KBest Media Facebook Page: