Near as we can figure out, the thunderstorm the other night struck a windsock on top of 400 barrel crude oil tank that was about half full. It blew the roof off and burned all night and into the next morning when we got the page. We had never had this happen before and were quite puzzled. The oil is about as heavy and black as you can get and is hard to get to burn with a torch!
Any brothers or sisters have any strange lightning fire stories?
Nothing unusual about lightning fires at oil and gas storage facilities. We have quite a few each year. The spark from the lightning ignited the vapors in the top of the tank, causing the explosion. That in turn got the oil hot enough to give off more gases, which continued to burn. Your best option is to isolate the tank by having the owner representative close a valve or two, then let the product burn. Otherwise the owner has an even bigger mess to clean up. Makes for pretty good photos, eh?
The only interesting lightning/tank story I can recall was the one during the which a second tank blew while we were staged at the gate. The steel 500 barrel "drip" tank was launched about 80 feet into the air and came down on its side in the middle of the pad. We were about 100 yards away. Made a nice boom followed by an even nicer crash. Everyone was wide awake.