by Mike Henry
KBYG Radio - Special to NewsWest 9

HOWARD COUNTY - Quick work by firefighters avoided a larger disaster Thursday night when a rig carrying crude oil caught on fire.

Howard County Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tommy Sullivan tells KBYG News that some sort of mechanical malfunction around the brakes and wheels caused the initial fire on the crude oil rig around 9 p.m. Thursday night.

The incident occurred on the Garden City Highway, about three miles west of Highway 87 South, just southwest of Big Spring.

Sullivan says the tank containing the crude oil was very close to losing its integrity and being penetrated by the flames but firefighters were able to knock the flames down using compressed foam.

The effort took about a half hour to complete, and then the rig, which was totaled, was allowed to cool down before officials began efforts to finish the job and remove the wreck.

The highway was closed during part of the operation then opened to one lane late Thursday night.