DUBBERLY — No serious injuries were reported and damage was confined to a couple of pieces of construction equipment when a fire reportedly started in a condensation pit at the Regency Gas Service, LLC Dubberly refrigeration plant Saturday morning.
Minden Fire Chief Kip Mourad said construction is going on at the plant and apparently flames broke out when a subcontractor’s crew was welding inside a pit where condensate had been stored. Condensate is a hydrocarbon liquid present in raw natural gas. Liquid is separated by reducing the temperature of the gas.
“It looks like they were welding and some of the condensate residue caught fire,” Mourad said. “They couldn’t put the fire out with fire extinguishers and it spread pretty quickly, so they evacuated and called for assistance.”
Mourad said Minden’s fire department responded to a request for assistance from Dubberly around 11 a.m. and arrived on the scene a short time later. Once on the scene, the chief said he learned a welding truck and a bucket truck were also burning inside the pit.
“The plant had been evacuated and there was no chance of the fire spreading, so we stood by at the staging area about a half mile away,” Mourad said. “We stayed about three hours, and left a little after 2 p.m. Dubberly stayed on the scene and we learned the fire burned itself out not long after 4 p.m.”
When the fire was at its peak, “You could see flames and a lot of very black smoke, which probably was caused by diesel fuel in the truck and crane and from the tires,” Mourad said. “It looked a lot worse than it actually was. There was no danger of it getting out of control.”
One employee of the subcontractor’s crew reportedly suffered a minor injury as he fled from the scene of the fire.
Todd McKee, regional operations manager for Regency, said an investigation into the cause of the fire has begun.