Progress made in fighting Glenpool fuel tank fire

Tuesday, April 8th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Progress has been made in fighting a fuel storage tank fire at 131st Street between Highway 75 and Elwood in Glenpool. Thousands of gallons of diesel fuel caught fire and exploded at around nine o'clock Monday night.

Authorities are continuing to keep Highway 75 closed in both directions near the scene of the fire. The Glenpool Police Department says for southbound traffic on 75, exit at Highway 117 and go west to Highway 75-A. Go south on 75-A, and turn back east at 151st Street South to Highway 75. For northbound traffic, motorists should exit at 151st Street South. Go east to Memorial and north into Tulsa.

Tuesday morning, residents living in the area from 121st Street South and 141st Street South between Elwood and Highway 75 were asked to evacuate their homes. Glenpool Schools closed on Tuesday because of the fire. Shelters were set up at several area churches.

It was sight for people in Glenpool and drivers along Highway 75 - the blast sent flames leaping hundreds of feet into the sky. The bright orange flames were a stark contrast to the already dark skies made even darker by clouds of thick black diesel smoke. The fire continued to burn throughout the day.

Firefighters from Tulsa, Sapulpa, Glenpool, and several other departments stood by in case other nearby tanks caught fire. Early Tuesday morning, downed power lines fell onto spilled fuel, igniting a smaller tank holding a petroleum product called naphtha.

Video from Ground Level
Video from Sky 6

Conoco-Phillips officials say the fire started during the delivery of 8,400 barrels of diesel fuel. Static electricity is the likely cause of the explosion.

Click here for a USGS satellite view of the tank farm. The fire is happening in the tanks located in the far lower right quadrant of the satellite image.

Explorer Pipeline Company of Tulsa's 1,400-mile, 28-inch main pipeline was shut down as a precaution. All ConocoPhillips personnel were accounted for and no one was hurt.