Smokey Barn News, July 16, 2013
Large Propane Tank Explodes Behind Greenbrier Church
A large propane tank has exploded behind Bethel Baptist Church In Greenbrier located at 7022 Bethel Rd. The first call came in around 2:15AM Tueaday Morning. LOCATION OF EXPLOSION. Police are classifying this explosion as a crime and the State Fire Marshal is in route to the scene.
Smokey Will continue to track this story as it develops, but as we understand it at the moment the church is not involved in the fire at this time. Video footage: Paul Fuqua of Shannon Insurance Below is another video for a second look at the tank fire from our friends over at WSMV News 4.
Local resident Paul Fuqua lives a mile away from the two tanks. He was in his home when the initial explosion occurred. “I thought it was a low flying jet, I said, MAN he’s low, then I realized it was actually a mile down the road up at the church, I better go see what’s up”.
UPDATE: 4:00AM Fire continues as fire crews put more water on the blaze. They are working on contacting the owner of the tank but there is probably little that can be done until the large tank runs out of fuel. They are using about eight tankers and are closing down Bethel Rd.
A fire fighter at the scene told Smokey that it’s actually safer to let the fire burn off the fuel. If they did extinguish the fire the gas would still be spewing out creating the danger of an explosion. Because the tank is off set from any structures fire crews should be able to keep it contained.
The church sits on one side of the tanks and a home on the other. There is a family living in the home and they are presently sitting in a van at a safe distance. There are no injuries to report with this fire.
Several agencies responded to the blaze including Millersville Fire, Shackle Island Volunteer Fire Department, White House Community Volunteer Fire department – Station 51 and 52, Greenbrier Fire, Cross Plains Fire, Highland Volunteer Fire Department And Orlinda Fire.
UPDATE: 4:55AM The fire is officially out.
Expect delays for another hour at least if you use Bethel Rd or Liebengood Rd.
UPDATE: 6:15AM DAY CARE CLOSED
According to Bethel Baptist church representative Mike Corbin, the Day Care center will be closed today as a safety precaution.
UPDATE 6:30AM: Millersville Police are classifying this explosion as a crime and the State Fire Marshal is in route to the scene. The area around the tank has been taped off as a crime scene and according to White House Volunteer Fire Chief Gerald Wakefield a video tape from the church clearly shows someone walking around the church and the tanks. Shortly after the person appears on tape the tank exploded.
Smokey has also learned that a representative from the company that owns the tank said, “The tank valve was clearly damaged. It’s not clear if it was an attempt to steel propane gone bad or just a act of arson.” The damage is to the fill port according to the Director of Robertson County Emergency Management Agency R.L. Douglas.
The two tanks are both 1000 gallon propane tanks and though the term explosion best describes what neighbors heard with the initial ignition of the tanks after the first one ignited, the tanks themselves are actually both intact.
If you recall Smokey has reported on several suspicious fires in Robertson County in recent weeks. To see our previous report on a fire that was also investigated by the State Fire Marshal recently CLICK HERE.
Jim Ball reporting
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