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A condensation tank explosion caused by a mechanical failure was behind a large blast and fire Friday morning at a Smith County, TX, natural gas well.

At least six fire engines from Red Springs, Winona, and Lindale fire departments responded to the 17700 block of Farm to Market 14, near Tyler State Park. Crews arrived at the scene at 3 a.m. Around that time, nearby residents said they awoke to “multiple pops” and a loud “boom” that “sounded like a bomb went off.”

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Fire crews were not immediately able to get close to the source of the rupture, staying back until valves cut off gas flowing from area pipelines into the site. Representatives with Griffin Operating, Inc. were at the scene to assist with shutting off gas line valves that run through the neighborhood into the well.

The fire occurred from a condensation tank explosion, which also spread to a nearby grassy field, said Smith County Assistant Fire Marshal Oren Hale.

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Although he determined the fire to be from a mechanical failure, Hale said the source of ignition was indeterminable. He added the gas company may elect to do their own investigation, bringing in engineers to determine the source of ignition.

According to emergency officials, the fire was out by 5:30 a.m. and four residents initially evacuated were able to return to their homes after an evacuation. At one point, authorities closed a portion of FM 14 to traffic. That portion has since reopened.

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