The Beloit Fire Department responds to five or six gas well fires a year.
By MARALINE KUBIK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BELOIT -- One hundred firefighters from five departments spent 21/2 hours extinguishing a gas well fire after a storage tank exploded Sunday in a farm field on Main Street.
"We're lucky no one was hurt and no farm animals were injured," said Scott Dean, Beloit fire chief. "We're lucky the cows were in the barn."
His department received a call at 6:47 p.m. reporting an explosion and fire at 14014 S. Main St., property owned by the mayor.
Collection facility: Gas from several wells is stored at a collection facility on the site. One of five storage tanks at the site exploded, causing the others to rupture, Dean said. "We don't know why the first tank exploded, we have to investigate some more today."
The explosion could be heard at least 18 miles away and blew one storage tank 200 yards, he said. "When they go up, they're like torpedoes."
To help his department extinguish the blaze, the fire chief called in firefighters from Damascus, Sebring, North Georgetown and Homeworth.
The fire destroyed the tanks and damaged the system that pipes gas to the facility, causing an estimated $60,000 worth of damage.
Fuel contained: Firefighters were able to contain the fuel, Dean added, "so there were no EPA concerns."
Smoke from the fire also posed no threat.
This is the only gas well in Beloit, Dean said, but "I couldn't tell you how many there are in Smith Township, there so many of them. We average five or six gas well fires a year."