Hazmat Crews Clean Up Site After Tulsa Building Explodes

Thursday, April 10th 2014, 3:11 pm
By: News On 6

A big clean-up effort is underway after an east Tulsa business exploded into flames Wednesday night. Hazardous material crews joined the cleanup.

A shell is all that's left after the blast and fire at Sabre Chemical Company on 47th Street and Mingo Road, which required more than 75 firefighters to knock down the flames.

4/9/2014 Related Story: Tulsa Building Explodes; Women Nearby Rescue Trapped Man

Anyone driving along Highway 169 or the Broken Arrow Expressway saw the large fireballs rising into the night sky. The fire burning so hot caused the roof to collapse onto petroleum products.

Pat Meirose with Lawn Masters Quality Pays, said, "Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. It just kept exploding and flames shot up real high, and smoke and it was terrible.

People in a next door business used their pickup truck to rip down a fence and free two men trapped inside the property.

"I was like, ‘Are you OK? Do you need help?' And he was like, ‘Yeah, get me out, get me out, I'm on fire,'" said Sarah Meirose, with Lawn Masters Quality Pays.

Crews worked into Thursday morning to put the flames out from the building. The fire would flare up from time to time, as fire investigators got a birds-eye view of the damage.

Stan May with the Tulsa Fire Department, said, "They have a pretty good idea of what happened, they are just not ready to release it yet till they get some of their tests back."

The business stored high-octane racing fuel and lubrication products. Businesses have to provide fire departments with a list of chemicals they store so crews know what they are walking into and are able to plan a response.

As the investigation continues, Sooner Emergency Service is digging through the nearby drainage ditches cleaning out any area that may be contaminated with fuel spilled during the fire.

The Tulsa Fire Department said the business owner and the insurance company have to make sure hazardous chemicals didn't leak out.

"They're going to have to remove all that soil around the building, down the ditches. They're going to have to bring in fresh dirt," May said.

Mechanics at a repair shop across the street were surprised to see the extent of the damage.

"I just saw a whole lot of black metal all burned up, just a lot of craziness," said Nam Le with Modern Imports. "It was, you know, a nice warehouse, full warehouse. Now it's just, like, nothing you know, just pretty much trashed."

The results of the investigation could take week to complete.

As for the men trapped behind the fence, they made it out with minor burns.