A lightning strike from a thunderstorm, which rumbled through the area early Thursday morning, is being blamed for an estimated $200,000 in damage to a saltwater disposal unit west of Patricia.
    “This definitely was a weather-related event and it is believed that a lightning strike ignited at least one of the tanks at that facility,” Lamesa Fire Chief Larry Duyck said on Friday. “When the first firefighters arrived at the scene, four of the tanks were fully involved in fire and they ended up being a complete loss.”
    Duyck said each of the fiberglass tanks could hold up to 500 barrels of liquid, such as the saltwater that also contained oil mixed with it from the servicing of wells. That oil was being separated from the water at the facility.
    “When those fiberglass tanks catch fire they are hard to extinguish,” Duyck said, “but luckily there weren’t any metal tanks that were on fire.”
    The tank battery fire was reported around 2:46 a.m. Thursday at the facility, which is owned by CRNG Energy Co. of Midland, located about 10 miles west of Patricia just off the south side of State Highway 115 (Andrews Highway).
    Nine firefighters and five trucks from Lamesa Fire Rescue responded to that call, while five firefighters and a tanker truck also responded from Ackerly’s volunteer fire department, bringing the total number of firefighters to 14.


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