Evacuation order lifted in Beach City after oil tank fire

100 homes evacuated because of fire

BEACH CITY, Texas – One hundred homes in Beach City were evacuated Friday after a crude oil tank caught fire, officials said.

The fire broke out around 4 a.m. at an oil tank farm in the 9800 block of Point Barrow.

Evacuations were ordered for homes within a half-mile radius of  the tank farm out of concern that contaminants from the fire could become airborne. As a precaution, residents were asked to leave the area. 

"The fire department and sheriff's office were concerned that fire or airborne contaminants from the smoke and everything...possibly could reach some of these homes, so for precaution they asked those residents to evacuate," Chambers County fire marshal Ryan Holzaepfel said.

VIDEO: Sky 2 flies over scene of tank farm fire in Beach City

Firefighters got control of the flames around 7:30 a.m. and residents were allowed back into their homes. 

Some residents close to the farm said they were scared.

"When we looked outside my son's window, it was high, big flames really close to our home, so we were really nervous," April Davis said. 

Firefighters knocked on her door with a warning.

"They told us, 'There's a fire behind your house, you should evacuate,'" she said.

Officials said the tank that caught fire has the capacity to hold 400 barrels of crude oil.

At least three of the four tanks on the farm caught fire, officials said. Two fiberglass tanks melted, causing oil to spill, officials said.  According to officials, the oil was contained at the site and posed no threat to any nearby water supply. 

A thick black smoke cloud hung in the air over the fire. Officials said air quality checks were performed before residents were allowed back into their homes.

Chambers County sheriffs said lightning might have been the cause of the fire, but it is still under investigation.

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