Operators working to determine cause of oil tank fire in Bryan

BRYAN – Residents in a Bryan neighborhood say they are concerned after two oil tanks caught fire Sunday. Now, the company that owns the wells is working to determine the cause.

"I never really thought this was going to be a problem," said Brent Umstead, a resident who lives in the neighborhood adjacent to the wells.

Umstead told KBTX he knew there was an oil tank close to his home when he moved in, but he never thought it would catch fire and give him and his neighbors such a scare.

"It sounded like a gun shot or a small explosion,” he said.

Sunday afternoon, Umstead and his neighbors waited outside while firefighters battled a blaze they say looked a lot larger than it really was.

Monday, the owners of that well, Halcon Resources, were busy trying to determine the cause.

The on-site manager wouldn't go on camera, but said the team has its theories and is conducting tests to determine why the well failed.

Bryan Deputy Fire Marshall William Bouse says firefighters were able to control the blaze quickly because it's something they train for, and adds the design of the tanks insure any leaks or fires stay contained.

"There are space requirements that they have to abide by,” said Bouse. “They have to have a certain amount of ground area that separates them from the public."

The City of Bryan has to inspect them once-a-year. Records show this well site has passed all of its inspections, including its latest in August of last year.

According to officials, each well site inspection looks for basic code issues such as proper signage, emergency numbers and condition of the tanks.

In Bryan, there are 42 oil well sites which have at least 80 tanks containing oil.