COOKE COUNTY, TX - A large black plume of smoke from a Cooke County fire could be seen all the way from Sherman Tuesday.
Firefighters are still at the scene of the fire that sparked around 3:30 p.m. at the intersection of CR 208 and FM-902 just south of Gainesville. Nearby residents who've contacted us said all the smoke had them worried about the safety of the air.
Cooke County Fire Marshal, Ray Fletcher, said lightning struck an oilfield tank battery Tuesday afternoon which caught several other tanks on fire. Fletcher said because the oil tank was full, firefighters are having a hard time putting out the flames. Right now, they are working with the operator to prevent any oil from overflowing which could cause the fire to spread.
Fletcher said because of the chemicals that may be burning off into the air, they've advising residents to stay indoors.
"We've used our Code Red system to alert those downwind of the smoke to let them know to stay indoors and close their windows at this point, at least avoid any activities outdoors. TCEQ is here along with the Texas Railroad Commission to monitor the event," he said.
The TCEQ will be taking samples of the smoke to determine which chemicals it might contain and if those chemicals are hazardous to residents' health.
Fletcher said they are staying on scene all night monitoring the fire and despite the number of tanks on fire, there's no danger of an explosion at this time.
There are no reported injuries.