GRADY COUNTY, Okla. – The raging fire sent flames and thick black smoke into the sky.
It broke out around 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon at a Continental Resources oil field site just east of Chickasha.
On Thursday – the devastating damage was clear.
The Grady County Fire Chief tell us 22 different truck/trailer combinations were completely destroyed – each one valued at $1.8 million dollars.
Despite that, the fire chief tells us it could have been much worse.
“Yesterday, when we arrived on the scene, the first thing we did is figured out what hazardous chemicals might be there, what might happen if they mixed with water, what might happen if they mixed together, what catastrophic event would we have if we made a mistake like that,” said Grady County Fire Chief Buddy Meyers.
Chief Meyers says they took an offensive approach to keep the fire away from the worst chemicals.
“Some of these chemicals, if they mixed with water, if they caught on fire, if they mixed with each other, could’ve caused on explosion. Well, the evacuation distance was one half mile away,” said Meyers.
Luckily, that scenario didn’t happen and the fire was put out in about four hours.
Thursday morning, workers were on scene with a crane to remove the boom from another crane on scene that was damaged in the fire.
Despite the heavy damage, a lot was saved.
“About $50 million worth of other equipment. We saved the chemicals. We saved the trucks that are transporting the chemicals. We saved the tank battery, saved the well head. We saved the crane.”
And, lives were spared not only because of the fire fighting but the emergency plans in place for the oil field crews.
“When the fire first started, they attempted to control it with their fire extinguishers. When they realized that wasn’t possible, they initiated their emergency action plan, and everybody evacuated safely,” said Meyers.
Meyers tells us, since the fire is not suspicious in nature, they will not be involved in the investigation into the cause.
Continental Resources will conduct their own in-house investigation.
They did not respond to requests for information on Thursday.