Large Propane Tank Explosion in Kettleman City

June 13, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A series of loud booms woke Luis Pulido up from his sleep just after 5:30 this morning.Luis Pulido, Kings Co. Resident: "It was like big explosions, the flames went up, easily. I don't know the size, high, at least 2, 3, 4 stories high, when I saw that, I thought about my friends that work there."

A propane tank at Conway Freight burst into flames, sending pieces flying in all directions hundreds of feet away. The fire forced firefighters to back off and fight the fire from across the street and threatened to ignite two more tanks.

Capt. Mike Ornellas, Kings Co. Fire: "1,000 gallon propane tanks. Because those are so large and the danger that comes with it, we had to evacuate part of Kettleman City."

A third of Kettleman City was evacuated to a nearby school and Highway 41 was shut down for two hours, forcing frustrated drivers to take a detour.

The highway reopened around 7:30 this morning. A spokesman for Conway Freight told Action News the company is investigating what happened. The fire started while employees were filling forklifts with propane.

One employee suffered first degree burns to his arms.


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