Interview with City of Lamesa Fire Service Manager Kendall Amos along with morning after video

Photographer David Drummond's website with his account and more pictures

Chief Billy Goldfeder at Firefighter Close Calls alerted us to this amazing video from Thursday night. Here's what he wrote:

Lamesa and Andrews (Texas) Firefighters were operating at a tank fire last evening. They had water flowing, attempting to cool. At about 2 hours into it, a relief valve blew ...but then the tank and nearby tanks exploded and took off. The photographer was 200 yards away and a piece of 4" pipe about a foot and a half long with a cutoff valve on it came through the air in a high enough arc that it cleared the power lines next to him in impact the front of his vehicle, causing extensive damage.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries in the incident.

The video was shot by David Drummond who does storm chasing for KCBD-TV. It is believed lightning had hit the tank. Drummond wrote this on his website In The Vortex:

After chasing a wicked hail storm last night in Dawson County (it hailed for an hour and 15 minutes straight!) I heard the call go out for a tank battery fire that was most likely started by lightning. I thought it might make for some good news footage, but little did I know what was in store!

Here is some of the account of City of Lamesa Fire Service Manager Kendall Amos from KCBD-TV's website:

After two hours of fighting the blaze firefighters heard a hissing sound. "I was probably 20 yards from the front of the fire. I saw a couple of guys fall and I was running to try to help get them up," said Amos about the seconds following the explosion. Amos says the chain fence around the salt water disposal site shielded his men from flying debris. "Our people didn't get hit. Our trucks didn't get his. I can't believe it. It was like a grenade going off," said Amos.
Viewing a scene he describes as a war zone, Amos says it wasn't death that scared him. "Really what was going through my mind was not that I'm going to die, but that I'm going to get burned and have to live," he said.

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Boy i felt that in jersey glad knowone got hurt that bad
You oviously missed my point, so be it,
sorry for the misspelling of your name
Thank you Justin, I'll do that.
need more water and not as close. from the video it looks like the trucks were too close. plus the ladder looks to close to the fire. yes you are right charles clean underwear for everyone.
can u say oh shit
From what I seen and read, Thank God no one was killed.
Looks like your dept. handles it better by just letting it burn!!
After viewing the video, I can say that they should be very thankful that someone was not killed. It looked to me that more water needed to be used on the fire before the blow up but not being there and not knowing the situation, they might have had as much water flowing as possible for them at that time. I know that it only takes seconds as we have had tank battery fires ourselves but someone should have been aware somewhere along the line that they were getting behind. I agree that the evacuation horns should have sounded sooner but they might have already been getting their equipment together to get out and the horns were an after thought. I know they had to be scrambling to safety.
OK, I have tank farms, Diesel, AVGAS, JET-A. The biggest being 300,000 gallons but I am unfamiliar with the term tank battery farm. The news report said salt water recycling plant.

1. What was the tanks holding for product?
2. What was the tank level for the tank that actually BLEVE'D?

I see seven tanks from the one camera angle. I see an elevated waterway and three lines. Most of which were directed onto the fire. Candle to moth. The other tanks should be the primary concern of suffering a BLEVE. Not allot of GPM's being flowed on much of the exposures... If this was hydrocarbon or alocohol based farm, does anyone know if they using foam? If the nearest exposure tank level is low, this would raise the percentage of suffering a BLEVE significantly...

The Fire Chief summed it up, by the grace of god that nobody got hurt or killed at that incident.
Thanks for the specifics. Our farms are fairly new which include, FD connection to pump 4" supply line with AFFF into a pre-piped waterway to fixed internal foam nozzles inside. Our tanks are also double wall steel.

So our attack is directly into the tank from the ground and we compliment the exposure protection with at least 4 aerial ladder pipes.
One key problem I see is that they should have applied more water for exposure protection. Many times in tank farms, exposure protection is more important than fire control.
Justin has pretty much summed it up. Tank farm fires are a specialty art themselves. It takes a far different mindset to handle them than a structure or wildfire.

From what I see in the video, they appear to have a decent water supply considering they are flowing a pipe and at least two ground lines. A problem with using foam on a fire this size and type, would be the quantity needed to be effective. Most departments wouldn't have enough on hand for it to be effective.

Judging by the magnitude of the fire, the fact no body was injured or killed, and the fire was contained, looks like them West Texas boys did a good job.

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