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Explosion at tank-battery site near Sawyer causes early Friday excitement

Gale Rose
Pratt Tribune

Emergency crews, including firefighters, are standing by at an oil tank battery fire a mile south of Sawyer that was reported at 6:06 a.m. on Friday, June 19. When crews arrived, flames were shooting up from the battery creating a heavy smoke cloud.

At least two storage tanks were burning as well as a heater-treater unit in the battery that is just east of south U.S. 281 on SE 110th Street.

Pratt County Emergency Manager Tim Branscom said there was an explosion at the site that started the fire. A strong thunderstorm was going through the area at the time of fire and lightning is a possible cause but not confirmed. No one was injured in the blast.

"We don't know for sure it was lighting but that is our best guess," Branscom said.

The line feeding the well was successfully shut down around 9 a.m.

The explosion blew two oil tanks to the west of the facility. The tanks landed several feet apart in a field where the battery is located. The tanks landed east of U.S. 281 and did not cross the highway.

Representatives from the Kansas Corporation Commission are on site as well as representatives of F. G. Holl, the oil company operating the facility, Branscom said.

Fire units began an attempt to put the fire out at 10 a.m. By 10:30 a.m. the fire was mainly contained by firefighters.

Kansas Department of Transportation is on hand for traffic control. Pratt County Sheriff officers, Pratt County EMS, Pratt County Emergency Services, Pratt County Fire and Sawyer firefighters are on the scene.