A vehicle fire inside a Halliburton maintenance building set off a series of small explosions inside the structure and sent smoke billowing out of the complex early Friday afternoon.
No one was injured in the blaze off FM349, and local emergency responders kept the flames contained to the steel-framed shop. Kilgore firefighters cleared the site about an hour after the lunchtime flare-up.
“We have it all under control,” Kilgore Fire Chief Johnny Bellows confirmed about 1:35 p.m. “It was one of their cement trucks that was inside the building – we're thinking that maybe the hydraulics and the motor that was on the back of it somehow caught fire.”
A torrent of black smoke was rising above the site as emergency personnel arrived on scene following a 911 dispatch at 12:40 p.m.
Kilgore Police officers temporarily shut down traffic on 349 until they were able to confirm there were no hazardous materials involved. The Kilgore Rescue Unit and Sabine Fire Department also responded to the scene along with Champion EMS.
Fortunately, Bellows confirmed, the ambulance crew wasn't needed in the end.
“Everyone was out of the building,” he said. “We were unsure when we first got there because some had gone to lunch,” but Halliburton staffers were on top of the roster: “They did a very good job giving us updates on who was out of the building and where they were.
“We still did our due diligence and did a primary and secondary search just to make sure everybody was out. It was all clear.”
There was a substantial amount of stored oil inside the building along with oxygen bottles. Bellows couldn't be certain if any ignited during the fire.
“We had some reports of some explosions, but I'm not sure what actually exploded. It could have just been something with the hydraulics that made some popping noises.”
The fire brought was brought under control relatively quickly, multiple crews tackling the truck-fire from different sides.
“We actually had three lines that were on the ground. We were making sure it wasn't going anywhere.”