An Exciting Christmas Eve

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Blog entry by Todd A. Clippinger posted 12-25-2009 05:37 PM 1552 reads 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The south edge of Billings has a border created by the freeway. We live just on the other side of the freeway and are sandwiched between it and the Yellowstone River which is behind us.

On the north side of the freeway is the Conoco Refinery. Last night one of the big storage tanks caught on fire. The roof collapsed on the tank and the tank burned and melted down.

I can’t post the photos here because they are copyrighted by the paper, but here is a link:

This is really close to our house and we could hear the loud speakers giving warning and instruction when standing out in the yard.

Fortunately no one was hurt and there were no massive explosions. We are close enough that our house would sustain damage from an event like this if not harm to us as well.


-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

19 comments so far

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3719 days

#1 posted 12-25-2009 05:44 PM

Thanks Todd for the link it reminds me of what we had here last week, I’m telling you a fire can do a lot of damage in a short time.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4121 days

#2 posted 12-25-2009 05:52 PM

Fortunately for us, the smoke went another direction. We did not even smell anything from it.

But unfortunately for a lot of people on the southern part of town it went right over them.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3362 days

#3 posted 12-25-2009 05:52 PM

glad to hear you are safe , and your home and shop too !

have a safe christmas and a great new year .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4182 days

#4 posted 12-25-2009 05:57 PM

Glad that all is well—for everyone!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3579 days

#5 posted 12-25-2009 06:19 PM

Too close for comfort I’ll bet. Thank goodness all is safe.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3483 days

#6 posted 12-25-2009 06:19 PM

Glad to hear you are OK. Looks like you got to have Christmas and a new years bang already

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3896 days

#7 posted 12-25-2009 06:34 PM

Geez, glad everyone is ok. Glad the firefighters were ok too. An explosion would have been tragic. I hate those kinds of fires because they are so unpredictable. Any idea what was burning? I’m assuming oil.

-- Happy woodworking!

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 3930 days

#8 posted 12-25-2009 06:37 PM

And people ask “Why should we count our Blessings” My response is “Sometimes we need to say Thanks for the things we don’t receive”. Glad to hear you and your family are well. But tell the folks at Connoco to save their fireworks for the 4th of July Holiday.
Merry Crhistmas

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4121 days

#9 posted 12-25-2009 06:38 PM

From the news accounts the storage container was storing asphalt. The tank was being removed from service so the level was somewhere between 2’ and 5’ deep. I am sure that you can realize this would be much different than having any other greater volume of material in storage such as half or full.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View majeagle1's profile


1426 posts in 3518 days

#10 posted 12-25-2009 06:43 PM

Whew, way to close for comfort. I am glad that you are all o.k…............ It’s great that no one was hurt, I hate for these kind of things to happen, especially around the holidays.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Todd

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3844 days

#11 posted 12-25-2009 06:48 PM

Sorry to hear such new Todd, thank God you and the family are ok.

View SteveMI's profile


1100 posts in 3316 days

#12 posted 12-25-2009 07:15 PM

Over the past 3 years there have been a couple of incidents like that and it amazes me how well the fire departments, police and company safety handle them so that even minor injuries are seldom. Of course, the smoke and fumes are an unknown.

An engineer told me once that danger gets greater the lower the level due to vapors in an enclosed area. Like a gas tank, could catch fire at any time, but will explode if near empty.

Glad to hear you and your family are well.


View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3291 days

#13 posted 12-25-2009 07:28 PM

Glad to hear that nothing was damaged or no one was hurt at your home!

Horrible time to have a fire…..we had one at the Atlantic Richfield when I was on a project there (luckily not during a holiday)...lightning hit the tank and started a huge fire. We were immediately evacuated…then returned to drain the tank….It still burned for days as they could not get it put out….the fire was so hot it fuzed several of the metal plates of the tank and melted others.

Needless to say…I hope the rest of the holidays are good to you….and here’s to a more prosperous new year!

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4336 days

#14 posted 12-25-2009 07:32 PM

I spent some time doing construction in those refineries. I know the safety levels are very high, but those are also very dangerous materials. I glad to hear you are well.

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3960 days

#15 posted 12-25-2009 09:02 PM

Whew is right! I’m a city boy, born and raised, and like things within walking distance, but somethings can be a bit too close. Good to hear that all is well and as an added bonus, you’ve got some interesting dinner conversation ready made.

-- Working at Woodworking

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