05 23 2015

Three Arrested For Oil Storage Tank Explosion

By Julie Vaughan


VAN—Less than 24 hours after arrest warrants were issued for suspects in connection with the oil storage tank explosion that occurred January 29 north of Van, all three subjects were taken into custody.

Van Zandt County Fire Marshal Chuck Allen issued a press release late Wednesday morning stating that warrants had been issued for three individuals responsible for the explosion and fire of the oil storage facility owned by Three Folks Operating Company, L.L.C.

The warrants called for the arrest of Brandy Wolfe, HR Price and Heather Wolfe, for criminal mischief-over $200,000, which is a first degree felony, and criminal trespass of a critical infrastructure, which is a Class A misdemeanor.

Allen said all three subjects surrendered themselves to Van Zandt County Constable Precinct 4 Pat Jordan by Thursday.

The individuals were arraigned by Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 Judge Scott Shinn. They were then transported to the Van Zandt County Justice Center inCantonand were in the process of posting bond.

The bonds were set at $50,000 for the criminal mischief and $10,000 on the criminal trespass.

Allen said during the investigation, it was reported that only two individuals were walking the catwalk of an oil storage tank.

Those people, a man and woman, were seriously injured when they lit a cigarette and the  oil storage tank ignited.

The two victims were taken by EMS ground ambulance toEastTexasMedicalCenterinTylerand then transported on to Parkland Memorial inDallasby groundEMS.

Allen said their injuries included burns to their face, head, chest and arms.

A 9-1-1 call came in just before 3 a.m. (January 29) with the report of “an explosion and fire at an oil storage facility,” Allen said. It is not knows if the thirdindividual wanted in this case was the 9-1-1 caller.

The tanks, which contain 400 barrels of oil each, were all full at the time of the explosion.

The fire ended up completely destroying three 400 barrel storage vessels.  Three other 400 barrel storage vessels were damaged in the fire.

It took Van Fire Department, along with the help of Grand Saline, Lindale andTylerfire departments several hours to get the tank fires under control because after the first oil tank blew, two others beside it exploded. The crew was also assisted by theTylerFire Department HazMat (hazardous material) team.

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