More than a Dozen Fire Departments Respond to Oil Tank Fire


SHELBYVILLE-Fire and oil. That's the dangerous mix firefighters across Central Illinois faced Tuesday evening.

It all started when lightning struck an oil tank in rural Shelbyville, causing that tank to explode the thousands of gallons of oil inside of it to catch fire. It looked like an inferno captured by Shelby County photographer Dave McClain: enormous flames fueled by oil.

When they arrived, Shelbyville firefighters instantly knew they needed help. Those flames had to be suffocated by foam water would just spread the fire to surrounding farm fields.

Fire chief Gary Lynch says at times 30 men were putting out flames 90 on scene in total.

He says on his 31 years fighting fires he's never seen anything like it.

And he says the tank shot up in the air soaring for 103 yards before landing in it's position. He says thankfully the explosion happened before they were on the scene.

The chief says he doesn't know the exact cause of damage but the owners lost several tanks, a few drums and a shed, but thankfully no one was hurt.

Photo Courtesy David McClain, Shelby County News

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