GRAYSON COUNTY, Tex. -- Sherwood Shores firefighters say they faced several challenges battling Tuesday morning’s oil fire. Both the oil and heavy rain require emergency workers to take extra precautions.
It's an unusual scene: a raging fire during heavy rain. Lightning started the fire n a field off of FM 901 in Grayson County. Sherwood Shores fire officials say about 44,000 gallons of oil in two tanks burned.
Thanks to training at schools like Texas A&M, along with guidance from veteran firefighters, the crews were able to put out the fire in about two and a half hours.
"The main thing it teaches you is safety, and subconscious of safety and what could happen. It also teaches our firefighters not to get scared,” says Ron Blackwell, chief of the Sherwood Shores volunteer fire department. “They’re gonna have some fear, but it does give them a level of confidence to go in because they say we've done this, and we can do it again."
Without proper training, and help from other departments, who supplied the AFFF foam needed to extinguish an oil fire, firefighters may not have been able to keep two other tanks from catching fire or exploding. Veteran firefighter Butch Braughler says it could be disastrous.
"When you have an explosion, there's product, whatever's in them tanks, a piece of the tank, when they explode, they go somewhere, and if you have people standing around, they're at risk," he says.
Another challenge Monday morning was weather. Blackwell says while rain can sometimes help out, it often causes more problems, like vehicles getting stuck in the mud.
"It can also be a hindrance because you're, everything gets wet and you could slip easier, the mud's there. The mud becomes a problem and that's what it was out there," he says.
For all the obstacles this oil fire presented, Blackwell says he is proud of his volunteer staff. They extinguished the fire, keeping everyone safe.
Blackwell thanks other departments for bringing the foam to fight the fire. Sherwood Shores has a foam truck, but doesn't have the funds to buy foam.
He hopes to change that in the near future by securing grants.