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A Flash Point Test Sparks Fire At Jasper Oil Company Headquarters

Last updated on Wednesday, March 28, 2012

(JASPER) - The cleanup and damage assessment continues after a fire broke out just before the noon Tuesday at the company headquarters and bulk plant of Ackerman Oil Company on the southside of Jasper.

Jasper Fire Chief Kenny Hochegsang says the fire started while an employee was testing the flash point of an oil product in a loading dock area right behind the company's main building.

Hochgesang also says the building's sprinkler system did a good job of keeping the fire from moving inside.

Heavy black smoke from the fire could be seen as far away as Ireland.

Hochgesang says the fire was contained and out in about 30 minutes.

Hochegsang says the fire engulfed a forklift and ignited some diesel fuel near some oil tanker cars behind the building.

One of several oil tanker rail cars behind the building was heavily damaged by the fire. Another was slightly damaged.

Meanwhile, Hochegsang says the Ackerman bulk plant was designed and built with a containment area to keep any runoff water and spilled petroleum product from making its way into the Patoka River or getting into the city's wastewater or sewer systems. Hochgesang says the containment area did its job.

No one was hurt in Tuesday's fire. Ackerman's company headquarters and bulk plant were immediately evacuated.

All Jasper fire units were called to the scene including the city's new tanker truck that was delivered just last week. Hochgesang yesterday's fire not only put the new "Engine 7" into action for the first time, but the fire showed the importance of all the city's fire units.

The aerial units continued putting water on so-called hot spots for sometime after the flames were put down.

Company president Mike Ackerman says the Jasper Fire Department did an outstanding job in getting the fire under control and eventually putting it out.

He says he and the Ackerman family are grateful for their outstanding work yesterday.

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