Fire chief: Explosion sound in Daisetta was caused by sludge tank pressure relief

Fire rages in a waste crude oil pit around a oil field tank in Daisetta on Tuesday. Despite the intensity of the fire, firefighters kept it from spreading to other nearby tanks.

Residents in the Daisetta area may have heard the sound of an explosion around 6:25 p.m. Tuesday night, Feb. 28, coming from the Quail Creek Oil Company fields off of FM 770.

According to Chief J.T. Smith with Liberty County ESD #2, the sound was caused by an over-pressurized sludge pit tank that blew out, causing a fire.

“The sludge pit tank caused a fire in the waste crude oil in a pit around one of the tanks. The larger tank never blew out,” said Smith. “At this oilfield, one of the processes involves the separation of natural liquid gas and crude oil. There is a separation tank that is heated by propane, but that wasn’t the cause of the fire.”

Firefighters worked quickly to apply water to the tanks and equipment to avoid a further blowout.

“It was an intense situation from the start. We were able to get in there and get the heat off of things that might go wrong. In 40 minutes, we had the fire put out in crude pit,” Smith said.

No injuries were reported. Smith said there was no environmental impact other than the dense black smoke that was caused by the burning crude.

“It was not harmful to people downwind. We checked levels for toxicity and didn’t find any,” he said.

Assisting ESD #2 firefighters were firefighters from Hardin, Devers and Dayton. Liberty County Hazmat also assisted at the scene as well as representatives of Quail Creek Oil Company, Smith said. Allegiance EMS also was on standby throughout the ordeal.

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