Oklahoma Residents Praise Firefighters After Warehouse Fire

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A day after a five-alarm fire destroyed a warehouse at an oil company in southeast Oklahoma City, company employees and local residents praised firefighters.

The fire started before 7:45 a.m. Saturday at B&M Oil Co., 615 SE 30, in an 18,700-square-foot warehouse that housed 55-gallon barrels of oil and drums of methanol, ethanol, kerosene and other chemicals.

''I think they (firefighters) stayed on top of it and did an excellent job,'' said Mickey Reeder, operations manager for the oil company. ''I had two trucks that were right up against the building, and I did not lose one of them.''

No one was injured.

Fire Maj. Brian Stanaland said officials still did not know Sunday what started the blaze.

Reeder said the company lost 25 percent to 30 percent of the business and that could have been much worse had the fire reached additional tanks east of the warehouse.

Reeder said B&M Oil Co. would be open for business today, but would be working out of a warehouse the company bought three months ago at 1404 N Sooner Rd.

Bill and Louise LaPach were counting their blessings Sunday afternoon inside their house of 53 years across the street from the warehouse. Ice covered the trees in their yard. Firefighters sprayed the house to prevent it from catching fire.

Bill LaPach, 81, was at home with his grandchildren when the fire started.

He said he walked outside to get the morning paper when he noticed the flames. Soon, explosions from the warehouse were sending flames into the sky and over his house.

''I figured it would get to our house because the flames were way up there,'' Bill LaPach said.

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