Actions of driver minimize gas tank fire damage, officials say

Actions of driver minimize gas tank fire damage

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Tyler Fire Department responded to a fire at a gas station on Highway 64 Monday evening.

The fire was at 3820 Hwy 64 West. That is the location of the Walmart store on the west side of Tyler, which has a gas station in its parking lot.

The Walmart is open for its regular hours following the fire, but the gas pumps are closed for tonight until the state can investigate and make sure it’s safe to reopen them.

Tyler Fire Marshal Paul Findley said that the fire was called in at 7:24 p.m. There were four engine companies, a battalion chief, a ladder company and a fire investigator at the scene.

According to Deputy Fire Marshal Randy Lee, a fuel tanker was off-loading unleaded fuel at the station at Walmart when a vehicle at the gas pumps got too close.

“Unknown if static electricity or heat off the motor or what exactly happened, but it ignited,” said Lee. “That vehicle was able to back out of there and get out of the way; product was burning on the ground itself.”

Fire Marshals are inspecting exactly how the fire started. But, Lee said thanks to the quick thinking of the driver, what could have been a disaster ended up being a relatively small fire.

“The tanker guy did an extremely great job,” said Lee. “I’ve talked to him at length and he was very shaken up from it because these things like this can go very bad, very quickly, because you know if that tank gets ruptured in anyway from fire impingement, you can have an explosion or we can put 11,000 gallons of gasoline on the ground on fire.”

The fire was put out by firefighters before the tanker or underground tanks were effected.

WEBXTRA: Scene of tanker fire at Walmart gas station

“Right now, it’s not contaminated, most of the fire was his hose burning and the fuel burning right there in the vicinity of the hose,” said Lee. “Fire crews were able to use some foam and get that extinguished very quickly.”

Lee said he hopes this reminds people to not smoke at or near a gas pump, ever, but also to stay away from a tanker offloading fuel if you can. He said it’s a safe process but the tanker is releasing vapors and can start a fire.

Hazmat was at the scene due to fuel spillage, and TCEQ has been notified. The fire has been extinguished.

One civilian was checked by EMS, but Findley said his or her injuries are not expected to be serious.

Lee said no other injuries were reported.

Lee said they expect the gas pumps will reopen sometime tomorrow.

RAW VIDEO: Tanker catches fire at Walmart on Hwy 64 in Tyler (Source: Viewer video)

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