Lightning hits tank: Lightning Strikes Fuel Tank
Published: August 5, 2015
Lightning hits tank: Lightning Strikes Fuel Tank, Lightning from Monday’s storms sparked a fuel tank explosion along a busy Butler County road, sending a fireball skyward and leaving behind a 40-foot-wide crater in the earth.
Officials said Tuesday that cleaning up the three fuel tanks compromised by Monday’s lightning strike could be a complex process involving multiple agencies.
Fairfield Fire Chief Don Bennett told WCPO news partner the Journal-News that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the state fire marshal, the groundwater consortium, and the city’s utility department, among other local and state agencies, will all be involved in the cleanup of the site.
Excavation starting on exploded fuel tanks in Fairfield. Seeing if contamination. @WCPO pic.twitter.com/GSoNpqhNt2
— Jordan Burgess (@WCPOJordan) August 4, 2015
Gas Depot has three tanks, each holding about 10,000 gallons; only one exploded, Bennett said, but the others are considered compromised because of the blast. The Fairfield Fire Department assumed that each tank was about three-quarters full.
The cleanup, Bennett explained, will require removing the damaged underground fuel tanks and installing new replacements, a task which requires a licensed contractor.
The greatest risk after the explosion were vapors that could come into contact with an open flame, Bennett said. Police remained on site overnight to monitor the situation.
While the situation created risk for serious environmental impact, Bennett said, it could have been worse. “Worst case scenario? I think we cleared that,” he said. “The tanks were at a level we’d consider minimal fuel containment.
Neighbors were evacuated for nearly a half-mile in every direction of the Gas Depot, on Dixie Highway at Winton Road, shortly after 6 p.m. Monday.
“The description of the property owner and the neighbor is they saw the lightning strike the ground, and immediately there was a fireball that they described higher than the trees,” Bennett said.
The State Fire Marshal’s office said Tuesday morning the explosion was the first time on record that lightning struck an underground gas tank in Ohio.
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