Photo by George Lauby
The fire that blew the top off an oil storage tank during the noon hour Thursday at Bailey Yard was accidently set, Nebraska Fire Investigator Ryan Sylvester told the Bulletin Friday. The explosion and fire sent clouds of black smoke into the sky.
Sylvester did not state the cause, only that the fire was ruled accidental. He said Union Pacific investigators would take over the investigation.
No one was hurt in the explosion. After the top blew off, the rest of the tank remained intact and acted like a chimney, as heavy smoke poured out of the top.
The 6,000 gallon tank is on the west side of the year, near a run-through service track for east-bound trains. The tank contained about two feet of heavy lube oil, Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said.
The fire was reported at 12:30 p.m. and was put out slightly more than an hour later. A North Platte firefighting crew sprayed foam suppressant on top of the buring oil, Fire Chief Paul Pederson said.
Pederson said after the first foam application, fire crews waited about an hour for the oil to cool, then applied another layer and waited 30 minutes or so, then applied more.