Fire at facility quickly doused

by Fernando Castro
Posted 1/23/13

Fire departments raced to a gas facility northwest of North Zulch last Thursday night and were able to contain a fire before it caused any danger.

On Jan. 17, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office …

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Fire at facility quickly doused

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Fire departments raced to a gas facility northwest of North Zulch last Thursday night and were able to contain a fire before it caused any danger.

On Jan. 17, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office received what was initially a report of an explosion near Bundic Road off of FM 39 shortly before 6:30 p.m. Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the area to investigate and determined the fire was coming from the Energy Transfer Partners natural gas compressor station on Gas Plant Road, connected to Bundic Road.

Volunteer fire departments from Madisonville, North Zulch and Flynn were sent to the site, and Normangee VFD responded to a request to assist as well. Guardian EMS and Centerville VFD are also noted to have been on scene.

“By 7:02 p.m., gas was shut off to the area and company representatives were on the scene,” said Shelly Butts, Madison County emergency management coordinator, who also went to the scene Thursday. “Firefighters continued to cool the tanks near the compressor that had been on fire.”

First responders helped to block roadways to the gas facility. Three nearby homes were also evacuated for safety. Residents from two of those homes were temporarily relocated to the North Zulch ISD campus. Butts, Sheriff Travis Neeley and Constable Charles Turner went to the school to assist evacuees.

When Butts returned to the gas facility, the fire was extinguished. The fire was reportedly contained within 30 minutes.

“Upon further investigation,” said Butts in her official report, “EMC noted that a large compressor at the site had apparently malfunctioned and caught fire. Pieces of the compressor and connections were found on location, separated from the compressor.  Adjacent storage tanks and pipeline connections were cooled and did not catch fire during the incident.”

An Atmos Energy gas plant is adjacent to the Energy Transfer Partners. Representatives from Atmos responded to the accident, but their property was unaffected by Thursday’s events.

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