3 die in explosion at Ark. fuel storage facility - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

3 die in explosion at Ark. fuel storage facility

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An empty gasoline tank undergoing repairs exploded Tuesday at a fuel storage facility in rural north-central Arkansas, killing three workers, authorities said.

The tank had been previously cleaned and workers had entered it to prepare to install new equipment when the blast occurred just before 2:30 p.m., said Rick Rainey, spokesman for the facility's owner, Houston-based energy company TEPPCO Partners LP.

Three workers died in the explosion south of Searcy in White County, said Tommy Jackson, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

Rainey said the company was in contact with local first responders and federal work safety officials about the explosion.

"We are going to do a full investigation," he said.

Elizabeth Todd, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Dallas, did not immediately return a call for comment Tuesday.

The TEPPCO facility stores diesel and unleaded gasoline for clients and has five tanks with a total capacity of holding 250,000 barrels of fuel, Rainey said.

The explosion occurred as a series of thunderstorms rolled through Arkansas. The National Weather Service recorded no instances of lightning in the area at the time of the blast, according to forecaster Chuck Rickard in North Little Rock.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

Powered by Frankly