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Firefighters douse blaze at Vernal propane site

Published January 15, 2013 1:27 pm

Blaze • Firefighters put out flames after two-hour battle.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Uintah County firefighters fought a potentially explosive fire at a Vernal propane plant for more than two hours before finally controlling the flames early Tuesday afternoon. No one was hurt.

Uintah County Undersheriff John Laursen said that by 1 p.m. firefighters were checking for remaining hot spots at the scene of the blaze, a storage building at Basin Propane Systems, 1447 E. 500 South. The fire initially was reported at 10:32 a.m.

"It didn't get into any of their propane tanks, just their storage building," Laursen said. "But the fire is out and they released [the crews]. There are just some fire engines mopping up."

Laursen said that given the potential for the flames reaching large propane storage tanks on site, a precautionary evacuation was ordered within a half-mile radius of the plant. U.S. 40, which passed within about 400 feet of the fire scene, also was shut down for a couple hours.

Flames and smoke were reported as billowing into the skies shortly after the fire broke out, and some residents reported hearing pops and explosions.

As of 2 p.m., the evacuation had been lifted, according to Vernal city spokesman Keith Campbell, though spotty power outages in the area around the plant remained a problem.

Campbell said the cause of the fire was under investigation and damage totals were still being compiled late Tuesday.

remims@sltrib.com