Oil storage tank explosion arrests made
Posted by : February 9, 2013| On :
Monitor Staff Writer
VAN—Less than 24 hours after arrest warrants were issued for suspects in connection with the oil storage tank explosion that occurred Jan. 29 north of Van, all three suspects were taken into custody.
Van Zandt County fire marshal Chuck Allen issued a press release late Wednesday morning stating that warrants had been issued for three individuals allegedly responsible for the explosion and fire of the oil storage facility owned by Three Folks Operating Company, L.L.C.
The warrants called for the arrest of Brandy Wolfe, HR Price and Heather Wolfe, for criminal mischief-over $200,000, which is a first degree felony, and criminal trespass of a critical infrastructure, which is a Class A misdemeanor.
Allen said all three subjects surrendered themselves to Van Zandt County Constable Precinct 4 Pat Jordan by Thursday.
The individuals were arraigned by Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 Judge Scott Shinn. They were then transported to the Van Zandt County Justice Center in Canton and were in the process of posting bond.
The bonds were set at $50,000 for the criminal mischief and $10,000 on the criminal trespass.
Allen said during the investigation, it was reported that only two individuals were walking the catwalk of the oil storage tanks.
The unnamed man and woman were seriously injured when they reportedly lit a cigarette and the oil storage tank ignited.
The two victims were taken by EMS ground ambulance to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler and then transported on to Parkland Memorial in Dallas by ground EMS.
Allen said their injuries included burns to their face, head, chest and arms.
A 9-1-1 call came in just before 3 a.m. on Jan. 29 with the report of “an explosion and fire at an oil storage facility,” Allen said. It is not known if the third individual wanted in this case was the 9-1-1 caller.
The tanks, which contain 400 barrels of oil each, were all full at the time of the explosion.
The fire ended up completely destroying three 400 barrel storage vessels. Three other 400 barrel storage vessels were damaged in the fire.
It took Van Fire Department, along with the help of Grand Saline, Lindale and Tyler fire departments several hours to get the tank fires under control because after the first oil tank blew, two others beside it exploded. The crew was also assisted by the Tyler Fire Department HazMat (hazardous material) team.