Firefighter gives detailed account of massive explosion in Lamesa - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/15/09

Firefighter gives detailed account of massive explosion in Lamesa

Posted: Updated:
Kendall Amos Kendall Amos

By Ann Wyatt Little  - bio | email

LAMESA, TX (KCBD) - The dramatic video of the fiery explosion in Lamesa is making national news around the country. The fire burned for more than nine hours after a bolt of lightning struck a disposal tank sending smoke in the air for miles. 

Fire Service Manager for the City of Lamesa Kendall Amos was there fighting the blaze. "It's just part of what we do. It's an accepted risk -- this one shook me. Mainly because I was worried about my men," said Amos.

After two hours of fighting the blaze firefighters heard a hissing sound. "I was probably 20 yards from the front of the fire. I saw a couple of guys fall and I was running to try to help get them up," said Amos about the seconds following the explosion. 

Amos says the chain fence around the salt water disposal site shielded his men from flying debris. "Our people didn't get hit. Our trucks didn't get his. I can't believe it. It was like a grenade going off," said Amos.

Viewing a scene he describes as a war zone, Amos says it wasn't death that scared him. "Really what was going through my mind was not that I'm going to die, but that I'm going to get burned and have to live," he said.

Crews from Andrews were called in to help fight the blaze. Firefighters say the plume of smoke was a quarter mile wide and covered the city of Lamesa.

Severe weather put NewsChannel 11's Storm Chaser David Drummond just 200 yards from the explosion allowing him to capture the dramatic video. "You've heard my voice next to tornadoes, this time you can hear in my voice I was scared to death," says Drummond.

Drummond agrees with Amos that it was a miracle no one was hurt. "I honestly can't believe we don't have 20 or 30 dead or in hospital. All I can say is the hand of God was on us," says Amos.

One firefighter did suffer minor injuries but is said to be doing just fine. The tank station is a total lost. Estimated damage is around $725,000 not including clean up costs.

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