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Section A: General News


Lightning sparks fire on U.S. 181




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Wilson County News
May 14, 2014 | 2,183 views | Post a comment

KARNES CITY -- Lightning strikes are being blamed for a massive fire May 8 at the Supreme Vacuum Services site on U.S. 181 here. A portion of the highway was closed for a short time while firefighters gained control of the blaze.

According to Karnes County Sheriff Dwayne Villanueva, officials were called to the scene after lightning struck two tanks at the facility at approximately 1:30 p.m. Various fire departments from Karnes and Wilson counties -- from as far away as Stockdale and La Vernia -- responded to assist amid torrential rains and cloud-to-ground lightning.

Edwin Baker, who serves as both the chief of the Stockdale Volunteer Fire Department and the coordinator of the Wilson County Health and Public Safety Office in Floresville, said the weather conditions often meant driving as slow as 30 mph en route to the fire. He said the crews from Stockdale and La Vernia initially were dispatched to a similar call on S.H. 80 in Gillett, but were diverted to aid their counterparts in Karnes City.

Additionally, Baker said, a rescue team from Stockdale was called away from the fire twice for water rescues on opposite sides of Karnes City. In both instances, he said, the motorists already had stranded their partially submerged vehicles by the time help had arrived.

By 4:30 p.m., spokesman Ramona Nye of the Texas Railroad Commission said the blaze was extinguished and an inspector from the commission had visited the site.

“Two fiberglass separators and four fiberglass storage tanks were destroyed, along with several vacuum trucks and pickups,” she said.

Officials said no one was injured.

Superior Vacuum Services hauls produced water from hydraulic fracturing sites. A company representative was unavailable for comment prior to press time May 12.

wgibbs@wcn-online.com
 

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