Casper, WY Oil Tank Fire, Jun 1921

Tanks On Fire Oil Tank Blaze



Casper, Wyo., June 18. -- Several large tanks containing about 445,000 barrels of crude and fuel oil were burning here this afternoon after being struck by lightning. The fire is centered in the Midwest Refining company's tank farm.
Chemicals were used in an effort to extinguish the fire, but without success. The city was darkened by billows of smoke which spread over it. Officials would not venture a guess as to when the fire would be brought under control.
The blaze continued under a downpour of rain which approached a cloudburst. Destruction of the tanks and oils, unless the fire is controlled, will aggregate more than half a million dollars, company officials said. More than one thousand men were rushed to the scene to protect other tanks.
One injured man was taken to the hospital.

Ogden Standard-Examiner Utah 1921-06-18


At about 2:30 in the afternoon of June 17 seven of the tanks, located in the Midwest tank farm, on the north side of the river, about half a mile west from Casper, were ignited by lightning striking one of them and the bolt being carried from one to another until the seven large containers were ablaze. There was a heavy downpour of rain, almost equal to a cloudburst. when the bolt came from the sky, but the heavy downpour had no effect whatever on the burning oil. But little effort was made to subdue the flames in the burning tanks, but a thousand men worked both night and day throwing up dykes around the other tanks and keeping a stream of water pouring over them and using every other known means to keep them from igniting.
After burning for about sixty hours the twisted and gnarled piles of smoke-blackened steel were all that remained of the property that represented more than five hundred thousand dollars. This was the most disastrous blaze that ever occurred in Natrona county. In fact the loss amounted to more than all the fires combined that had occurred since the organization of the county.

History of Natrona County, Wyoming, 1888-1922 by Alfred James Mokler, 1923

Read another article about the fire (below)