Blaze Hits N.C. Gas Tank Farm


More than 24 hours after crews extinguished a fire at Greensboro's Colonial Pipeline gas tank farm, plenty of work remained for both the Georgia-based company and the city's fire department.

Assistant Chief and Greensboro Fire Department spokesman David Douglas said the city needs to restock supplies, check and inventory equipment and also examine what went right and wrong during the fire extinguishing process.

Considering the fact that just five and a half hours elapsed from the time of the reported lightning strike that caused the steel tank to catch fire at 12:45 a.m. Sunday to the time the fire was officially determined to be "out," overall response and speed is not likely to be considered something upon which the city can improve. In fact, Douglas described the amount of time it took to put the fire out as "unheard of."

As far as Colonial is concerned, the company must safely remove the approximately 2,000 gallons of fire-retardant foam used by firefighters to deprive the blaze of oxygen.

The company said it will be coordinating efforts with the Environmental Protection Agency in an effort to disperse the material in such a way that it has a marginal impact on its surroundings. Crews could be spotted around the area of the burned down tank just after 7 a.m. Monday.

According to the News and Record, Colonial is also trying to determine why a system that is designed to detect and deflect electrical current away from its steel tanks and into the ground below, failed to respond properly Sunday morning.

All told, Colonial lost one of its 72 gas tanks on the Greensboro farm and nearly 200,000 gallons of gasoline. However, a company representative said it should have no impact on gas prices in the Triad.

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