Oil holding tank in Chippewa Township in Wayne County catches fire, causes explosion

Homes were evacuated after an oil tank in Chippewa Township exploded and caught fire Friday evening, the fire chief said.

Ron Browning told NewsChannel5 they received a phone call of the explosion at around 4:30 p.m. near Taylor and Serfass roads in Wayne County.

Officials say welding on the oil holding tank’s battery caused sparks, which lead to the explosion. Oil inside the mostly empty tank continued to burn and sent large amounts of dark smoke into the sky, the fire chief said.

Spokesman for Dominion East Ohio Neil Durbin said the official cause is still under investigation and environmental contractors will be at the scene draining the leftover chemicals. Crews will be back on Monday to replace the equipment.

Due to the explosion, the lid to one of the tanks flew off, landing some 200 ft. away.  Chief Browning said the lid could weigh up to 300 lbs. and could have caused serious damage if it hit a home or vehicle.

Just as close in another direction lives Craig Goliath, who thought bricks on his home had come off from the explosion.

“If felt like the whole house shook, I looked out the window and seen, it looked like a green lid rolling on the ground like 100 ft. away,” said Goliath.

He told us he was not evacuated but a few homes across the street were.  Officials said that was because the thick black smoke was headed in their direction.

Officials were concerned the fire, in close proximity to a second tank, would cause a second explosion. The lid of that second “bubbled-up” when it was supposed to be flat across.

“The biggest danger that we had was that the fire impinging on the second tank and that had not vented yet … that was our biggest concern and that’s why we kept everybody back,” said Chief Browning.

Durbin of Dominion East Ohio said the fire department extinguished the fire around 7 p.m.

No injuries were reported, residents were allowed back into their homes and the road was reopened Friday.

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