Two East Texans are in critical condition at Parkland Hospital in Dallas after a an explosion at an oil storage facility Tuesday morning just north of Van on HWY 110.
According to Van Zandt County Marshal Chuck Allen, a 24-year-old male and 24-year-old female were sitting on top of a storage tank smoking just after 3 a.m. when one of the tanks exploded. The female is currently on life support and the male has severe burns to his chest, face, and arms.
"They were on top of the oil tank battery smoking which in turn ignited the explosion and fire," Allen said. "Both victims were transported to ETMC Tyler and then shipped to Parkland Hospital in Dallas."
Authorities confirmed neither victim was an employee of the oil company and both were trespassing.
Van, Grand Saline and Lindale Fire Departments, as well as Tyler Hazmat responded to the scene.
A total of three oil tanks eventually caught fire, and crews worked to prevent the blaze from spreading to the other three tanks.
As of 9 a.m. Tuesday the fire was contained but continued to burn.
"The fire is contained inside the tank battery," said Allen. "We're letting it burn it self out. All Fire Departments have been released except for Van Fire as we just let it burn itself out."
The Fire Marshall is being assisted by the Van Police Department and the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office.