It was the fire to beat all fires in Lubbock. In late February the Wylie Propane Plant ignited sending dozens of local fire teams into one of the most dangerous situations of their lives. Monday community leaders thanked those brave crews for quick actions that kept an extremely bad situation from getting even worse.
There are still some charred remains reminding folks of that day. Witnesses say small propane tanks shot off the ground like bullets, and smoke poured into the sky above Lubbock.
Deputy Fire Chief Rhea Cooper first saw the scene from an interstate overpass west of the plant. He tells us he's never seen a fire like that during his 27 and a half years as a fire fighter.
"That's happened only a few times in my career where I felts so much in danger that I might not make it out of there," Cooper said.
Cooper's wife Tracey saw the smoke on her way home from Levelland. That's when she tried to contact her husband.
"It was a few hours later before he called me and said, 'I've been getting all your pages, but I'm here on the scene.' And then I was really concerned," Tracey said.
Several other fire men received honors for outstanding merit and valor.
Deputy Chief Cooper says every person involved that day went above and beyond the call of duty. Cooper says fire crews knew their basics and kept a cool head in the extreme situation. He says that is how teams beat the blaze at Wylie Propane.
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