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Acadia Sheriff: Fire out, no injuries after lightning hits oil tank

Fire at Vernon Oil
Vernon Oil Fire.jpg
Posted at 8:55 AM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 20:12:57-04

UPDATE: We have some details on the tank fire this morning in Acadia Parish.

The fire started at about 8 a.m. Wednesday when lightning hit Wellsite LeBlanc 1 at Old Spanish Trail and Verdin Road, near Midland and Mermentau, said Ashley LeBlanc, Director of Acadia Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

The responsible party for the site is Jennings Holdings, LeBlanc said.

The lightning strike hit or hit near a tank battery that ignited two of the site’s four fiberglass tanks. The site was a “shut in” site, meaning all product was removed from the site with only residual materials remaining. The two tanks that caught fire were previously housing saltwater.

Within 15 minutes of being notified, emergency responders and District 5 firefighters were on site and containing the fire. Other responsive parties on site included the Acadia Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana State Police Hazmat team, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.

By 9:45am, the fire was put out and contained. By 11:00am, the incident had reached the initial stages of the recovery period. The responsible party, the Department of Environmental Quality, and the Department of Natural Resources are currently handling cleanup, LeBlanc said.

"In these situations, the primary concern is public safety and environmental impact. At the time, the site was empty of personnel and there were no reported injuries. The environmental impact is considered minimal and primarily contained to the permitted site," LeBlanc said.

Originally, we reported that the Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office said that lightning struck a tank holding oil, causing a fire.

It happened early Wednesday morning at the Vernon Oil location along Old Spanish Trail between Midland and Mermentau.

"It is my understanding that the fire has been extinguished and that no one was injured," Sheriff K. P. Gibson told KATC. Earlier in the day, officials said no one was evacuated because of the fire.

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