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Arkansas blast fatally burns 3 beyond recognition

By Nick Valencia, CNN
updated 6:50 PM EDT, Mon May 21, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • They were dismantling an abandoned containment vessel filled with residual oil vapors
  • A resulting fire is contained
  • Another fire started by the blast continues to burn

(CNN) -- A three-man oil crew was killed in an explosion in El Dorado, Arkansas, while dismantling an abandoned containment vessel filled with residual oil vapors, the Arkansas Emergency Management said Monday.

The crew was working for the Long Brothers Oil Co. at the abandoned site when the blast occurred about 4 p.m., Arkansas EMS spokesman Chad Stover said.

"During the dismantling, there was an ignition of vapors inside one of the tanks," Stover said. "All three were killed. They were burned beyond recognition."

It was not immediately clear whether the site had an owner and what the Long Brothers' relationship was to the site, he added.

Calls to Long Brothers from CNN went unanswered.

The El Dorado Fire Department initially responded to the explosion and had since controlled the fire, Stover said.

Flames from the blast ignited a separate fire in a wooded area near the abandoned oil site, he added. The Arkansas Forestry Department was dispatched to contain the fire, which was still burning as of 6:30 p.m. EST.

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