Adrian Township Fire Chief Tim Bartenslager said township firefighters responded on Aug. 7 to a fire that was very noticeable from a distance, but upon arrival it was self-contained and wasn’t threatening to spread.

A quick response put a fire out at an oil facility in Adrian Township, but emergency responders want to  discuss the situation in preparation of a similar event.

Adrian Township Fire Chief Tim Bartenslager said township firefighters responded on Aug. 7 to a fire that was very noticeable from a distance, but upon arrival it was self-contained and wasn’t threatening to spread.

The facility is near Shepherd Road and Knight Highway and operated by Traverse City-based Savoy Energy.

Lenawee County Emergency Manager Curtis Parsons also responded to the fire. He said field crews at the scene did everything they were trained to do in the event of an equipment failure.

Parsons said he was contacted “right away” about the fire and was at the scene in minutes.

“Initially, first responders reported seeing a large fireball and a heavy smoke plume,” Parsons said.

The fire, which started after a failed valve that allowed crude oil to backflow into a burnoff stack, was brought under control by the site’s field workers.

“They shut off the valves and, in turn, the flow to the vapor stack and the fire reduced immediately,” he said.

Parsons said the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality was notified and, in turn, the MDEQ called him to make sure he was aware of the situation.
“I was already on the scene,” he said.

Parsons said no residents were in danger as a result of the fire and damage was contained to a small area of crops around the equipment. He said he was at the scene for approximately 2 1/2 hours while the situation was resolved.

Bartenslager said in the past the fire department has had calls to what were thought to be fires at oil facilities, but were not or were very limited in nature. He said this fire was a first for the department that had the potential to be a concern. However, he said workers on the scene reacted quickly to contain and extinguish it.

He said Parsons is planning to have a tabletop exercise in the near future to discuss potential emergency situations such as this and how they should be handled.

“We would walk through an event like this to see what procedures are in place to properly handle it,” Bartenslager said.