One tank exploded along Turpin Road after it was struck by lightning last week. Graford VFD was able to quickly contain the flames and save three other
One tank exploded along Turpin Road after it was struck by lightning last week. Graford VFD was able to quickly contain the flames and save three other tanks. (Mark Engebretson)
Graford, Possum Kingdom East and Mineral Wells volunteer fire departments were kept busy after lightning struck two tank batteries in the Graford area Wednesday afternoon.
The Palo Pinto County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher toned out Graford VFD between 5:30 and 5:45 p.m. with a report of a lightning strike along Turpin Road about two miles north of Graford. Flames were on the ground and Graford Fire Chief Alton Reed requested mutual aid from PK East VFD — a tanker for additional water.
Some 30 minutes later, the dispatcher again toned Graford VFD with a report of another lightning strike on a tank battery, this one south of Graford along Ragle Road. Reed asked dispatch to call the Mineral Wells VFD.
Before PK East arrived at the Turpin fire, Reed notified them that the fire was under control and asked PK East units to respond to the Ragle Road fire.
Upon arrival three of four tanks were on fire. The fourth, a metal tank, was in danger. Firefighters began cooling the metal tank while a plan of attack was formulated.
Graford, Mineral Wells and PK East firefighters used foam to help contain the flames while keeping oil from spreading to other areas.
Reed said one tank was destroyed at the Turpin Road fire when it exploded. That spread oil across the ground.
“We saved three tanks,” he said.
Inspectors from both the Texas Railroad Commission and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality checked the sites.
Monday, Precinct 2 Commissioner Louis Ragle said the RRC inspectors were very satisfied with steps taken to clean up the Ragle Road site.
TCEQ inspectors took air samples and reported test results would be available in about six weeks.
Three tanks were destroyed at the Ragle Road  fire, no injuries were reported.