Storage tank catches fire possibly from lightning strike

Storage tank catches fire possibly from lightning strike
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - St. George Fire crews were working to put out massive flames as a storage tank caught fire possibly from a lightning strike Friday evening.

Firefighters were called out to an oilfield storage tank area in the 200 block of Longwood Plantation Road off Nicholson Drive around 8 p.m. Friday during a heavy thunderstorm. They said that one only of five tanks in the area was engulfed in flames.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Officials said it may have been caused by a lightning strike, as first reported, but they are not sure if that was the actual cause.

The tank, which contained between 40 and 43 barrels of crude oil, caught fire and burned to the ground. The contents inside the tank were still burning, but the fire was contained.

Firefighters said the safest thing was to allow the fire to burn out to the point to allow crews to extinguish it with foam. Once the foam was applied, the fire was out around 11:30 p.m.

"My sister was actually going outside to feed the dog, and that's when she saw the fire. And then she just yelled out 'fire,' and from then on we evacuated," said Ann Agbiak, who witnessed the fire.

Eldon Ledoux with St. George Fire Department said a homeowner a few blocks away from the fire reported hearing a boom and that a piece of debris came through their roof. There were no injuries, but the homeowner believed the debris could be from the tank.

Ledoux said they do not believe there was any off-site environmental impact and no homes were in danger.

Officials emphasized the area was secure as they set up a safe perimeter. They said there is no harm to the public.

Baton Rouge Fire Department's Hazmat, Louisiana State Police's Hazmat and DEQ were on the scene along with St. George Fire Department and Hazmat.

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