Big tank blows; residents shaken: Elk Grove blast Plant's second in '99 : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


Big tank blows; residents shaken: Elk Grove blast plant's second in '99

By Ralph Montaqo Bee Staff Writer (Published Dec. 9, 1999)

For the second time this year, a large storage tank at World Asphalt Co. in Elk Grove blew its top in an explosion Wednesday that sent flames skyward and rattled windows more than a mile away.

The loud 7 p.m. explosion bore a resemblance to a Feb. 11 blast at the plant on Waterman Road, but there was added fear Wednesday because of the recent threat against the nearby Suburban Propane plant. Wednesday's explosion occurred less than a half-mile from the propane facility.

"I think the most important thing is that we are certain this is not in any way related to the propane plant," said Sacramento County Sheriff's Sgt. Rick Gibson.

The explosion occurred inside an 18,000-gallon tank used to cook roof-patching material, said Elk Grove Fire Chief Mike Meaker. The tank sits next to several others, including the tank that exploded in February and has since been toppled.

Meaker said the cooking tank had only about 3,000 gallons of material in it when something went wrong and it exploded, blowing its metal lid, measuring 18 feet in diameter, about 300 feet away.

Neighbor Chuck Heacock was inside a concrete block building about a half-mile away at the time of the explosion. He said it felt as though "someone rammed into the side of the building."

"I came out and saw this big old column of smoke," Heacock said.

About a mile and a half from the plant, walls shook and windows rattled at the home of Mike Cusabeer. Cusabeer said he immediately thought of the suspected plot to blow up two huge tanks at the propane plant.

Last week, federal agents arrested two anti-government militia members, Kevin Ray Patterson, 42, of Camino and Charles Dennis Kiles, 49, of Placerville, in connection with an alleged plan to blow up a plant that stores 24 million gallons of propane.

Both face charges of trying to manufacture an illegal assault rifle, of receiving or transporting a weapon to commit a felony, and conspiracy. Kiles also faces a charge of being a felon in possession of a weapon.

News of the alleged plot has left Cusabeer and other nearby residents concerned about their safety. "We drove out to the plant the other day to measure the distance," he said.

But as soon as he stepped out the front door Wednesday evening and saw the column of white smoke rising from the asphalt plant, Cusabeer said he sighed with relief.

"It looked just like that last time," said Cusabeer, who drove out to Waterman for a closer look. "This is starting to be a normal thing now."

Problems at the asphalt company are becoming too frequent for Chief Meaker's liking.

"Clearly, there is a problem here," Meaker said. He said county and state authorities will be called in to investigate.

The tank explosion in February was caused by a faulty thermometer in the tank. The tank became too hot while heating the roofing material and exploded, Meaker said.

After the explosion the company was asked to reimburse the fire department for thousands of dollars it cost to fight the fire, Meaker said. The company complied.

Last month there was another, smaller explosion at the plant inside a dust-collection system that again raised alarm.

"This is the third time in a year we've been here, so obviously we're going to be looking into this further," Meaker said.

"We are considering this quite serious."

Company officials were unavailable for comment.

-- Homer Beanfang (, December 10, 1999


Thanks for the post, but it's pure speculation to associate this with Y2K, isn't it? Even with the terrorist angle, which looks a lot like government / Men In Black spin anyway. This place has a HISTORY of blowing up!

Bad stuff happens quite happily on it's own - we can't just assume (and post as such) that EVERYTHING that goes wrong for the next 2 years is Y2K related.

Feel free to tell me that I'm not seeing the Patterns. Perhaps I haven't been Probulated enough. ;)

(No offence intender to Homer, he's the Man)

-- Servant (, December 10, 1999.

Does Anyone out there have a compilation of arrests made the last few months of suspected domestic terrorists?

This article mentions some I hadn't heard before.

There was the guy in Fl yesterday.

The 8 in Ca/Nv.

The FBI/ATF seem to be working overtime...

-- Duke 1983 (, December 10, 1999.

Militia members held in alleged bomb plot

-- Homer Beanfang (, December 10, 1999.

"The tank explosion in February was caused by a faulty thermometer in the tank. The tank became too hot while heating the roofing material and exploded, Meaker said. "

That's kind of interesting...could this thermometer be part of a computerized safety system?



-- Michael Taylor (, December 10, 1999.

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