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Lightning strike blamed for explosion, fire at oil well in Altamont

Published: Tuesday, July 16 2013 9:47 a.m. MDT

Lightning struck a battery of storage tanks at an oil well in Altamont early Tuesday, launching one of the massive tanks through the air and starting a fire that sent 50-foot-tall flames into the air.

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ALTAMONT, Duchesne County — Lightning struck a battery of storage tanks at an oil well in Altamont early Tuesday, launching one of the massive tanks through the air and starting a fire that sent 50-foot-tall flames into the air, according to fire officials.

Firefighters responded about 12:25 a.m. after at least one loud boom woke people living near the well, which sits about a quarter mile from Main Street, according to Altamont Fire Chief Greg Miles.

When crews reached the fire, two of the well site's 20-foot-tall storage tanks were engulfed, the chief said. The third tank had been launched outside the containment berm around the well location, he said.

"There is a gas line that runs near the well so we had to wait for it to be contained before we could fight the fire," Miles said, adding that EP Energy also had to shut the well in before firefighters could get to work.

The fire was under control by 2:20 a.m., Miles said. No one was injured and no evacuations were ordered.

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