Tanker fire caused by faulty equipment, investigators believe


by Mike Watkiss

Bio | Email | Follow: @mikewatkiss3TV


Posted on April 24, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Map: 24th Street and Jefferson

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PHOENIX -- Investigators say the massive fire that engulfed two tankers in Central Phoenix on Tuesday morning was likely caused by faulty equipment.

The oil-fueled tanker fire started near 24th and Jefferson streets, injuring two people. The fire produced stacks of black smoke that forced Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport to close its two north runways.

The Phoenix Fire Department’s investigators said the cause of the fire could likely be traced to a faulty or inadequate pump being used by employees at Fuels, LLC. That pump was used to transfer fuel from one tanker to another.

"They were using a pump that was insufficient," Fire Captain Ruben Saavedra said. "So they start having some leaks. Some of the oil started to leak out (and) got on to the actual motor of the pump, and it blew. That’s where the ignition started."

The fire department told 3TV that Fuels, LLC is fully cooperating with the investigation and the clean-up.

Two employees were badly burned in the fire and still hospitalized as of Wednesday.

Other people in the area were displaced as a result of the accident. Willie Williams and his wife had to find a new motel room nearby after the room they were staying in took damage during the fire fight.

"From the fire yesterday, we got water damage and a few other things,” Willie Williams said. “So we got to move."