Two men were severely burned following an oil tank explosion Thursday night in Smith County. The incident happened on County Road 419 near Lindale.
The two victims have been flown via medical helicopter to Dallas for treatment. When emergency response crews arrived, they found the victims near a vehicle.
Multiple fire crews, including Lindale Fire Department and Van Fire Department, worked the scene where a crude oil tank exploded. A member with the Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office, who lived in the area, was first on scene.
“As he was making his initial assessment is when he heard the guys calling for help and they were back behind him,” Lindale Fireman Jerry Garner said.
Authorities let the oil tank burn out while keeping an adjacent tank cool.
The victims were later identified as Jeremy Hernandez, 30, and Aaron Archie, 25, both of Smith County. They are both in critical condition and have burns to 50 percent of their bodies.
The tanks belong to an DSB Properties, an oil production company, and are located on private land.
People living in the area say trespassing is a common occurrence.
“Some of these properties look kind of unkept so I guess they assume that no ones going to know,” John Willingham said.
An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the explosion, however, according to a preliminary investigation by the Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office, the two men were smoking cigarettes on top of the tanks when the accident happened.
KETK will bring you more information as it becomes available.