Lightning causes explosion that shuts down portion of US 41 in Webster County

Officials say an explosion was responsible for closing off a portion of US 41 Alternate in Webster County between Providence and Dixon for a couple hours overnight Monday.

Webster County Emergency Management Director, Jeremy Moore, says lightning struck an oil storage battery causing the tanks to explode.  The top of one of the tanks landed in the roadway.  Two other tanks were on fire when firefighters arrived.

The initial call on this incident came into Webster County 911 Dispatch at 10:09 p.m., CDT.

Officials say the explosion also damaged some 3-phase power lines at the site, causing a power outage in the area.

US 41-A was closed between KY 670/The Providence Bypass and Kentucky 270 for a couple of hours as emergency responders cleaned up the area.

Jeremy Moore says a representative of the company that operates the tanks is going to monitor the site through the night. Material is continuing to burn off in one of the tanks.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials say Kenergy has a crew on site to repair the damaged power line, but there is no estimate at this time when power might be restored.

Moore says heavy rain that accompanied the lightning helped reduce the fire hazard following the explosion.  A tanker truck had just recently picked up oil at the tank battery, further reducing the fire hazard.

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