2013-07-25 / Front Page

Lightning and Fire Fill the Sky

A bolt of lightning hit an oil storage tank Sunday night, causing a huge fire that lit up the sky west of Giddings.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Department dispatched the Giddings Volunteer Fire Department at about 9 p.m. after receiving a report of a large fire. Jimmy Mitschke, Giddings VFD Fire Chief, said that the storage tank was located on CR 204 and that when the lightning hit, it caused the tank to explode.

“It blew the whole top of the oil tank off, sending it about 100 yards away,” said Chief Mitschke.

“All the oil spilled into the firewall and was burning there and around the other tank that was near it. The heat from the fire caused the seal in the second tank to melt, so that tank leaked all the oil that was in it too, which compounded the fire issue,” he continued.

The Giddings Volunteer Fire Department had three trucks at the scene with about 15 firefighters. Paige Volunteer Fire Department was also dispatched. They arrived with one truck and two people. The departments fought the fire for about two hours, using water and Class B foam, specifically designed for petroleum fires.

Sgt. Allen and Deputy Ray with the Lee County Sheriff’s Department were also on scene.

The oil storage tanks are owned by JLR Operating. No injuries were suffered during the incident.

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