OKC Propane Company Blaze Raises Bad Memories

Friday, January 20th 2012, 12:37 am

Thursday's fire at American Propane Gas Company ignited bad memories for those living and working nearby.

Many felt a big blast when flames ripped through the same propane company back in 2000.

Back in 2000, several explosions rocked nearby businesses and there was fear of an even larger blast. So, when those near American Propane saw flames Thursday, they feared a repeat.

"It's scary, you're worried about an explosion and then you're seeing how much smoke there is on the highway and how there's not visibility and for a while it was blowing in our direction," said Courtney Jackson who works directly across Broadway Extension from American Propane.

It was especially scary after what happened 11 years ago at the same plant. Courtney wasn't working here then, but her co-worker Nichol Hill was.

"I thought perhaps it was a storm coming," said Hill. "It felt like a small earthquake…there was a rumble along with it and I was like what's going on? I went to the door and you could see flames across the highway."

The 2000 fire happened about the same time of day and raged for hours. Crews were concerned the flames would reach a tank holding 4,000 gallons of flammable vapor and evacuated Nichol's office . This time those in the office were concerned they would be forced to leave again.

"We were kind of waiting like is there going to be a firefighter knocking on the door saying ‘okay, let's evacuate now'," said Jackson.

No one was evacuated this time, but everyone still knew there was a potential for danger.

"We were nervous nonetheless," said Jackson.