Explosion and Fire at Johnson Tank Farm leaves 4 in critical condition


It was just a typical Tuesday morning, just after 10 a.m., for an Electric City (about 3 miles north, northwest of Borger) resident that lives approximately 50 to 100 feet from Johnson Tank Farm, when a blast that completely shook his home left him and his young son terrified. “My first thought was that a terrible car accident had just occurred,” said the resident (who wishes to remain anonymous).

He was making breakfast when the loud boom, followed by another loud crashing boom, sent him rushing out his front door to see what had happened.

Once outside, he noticed a large structure at the nearby Johnson Tank Farm, part of the Borger Phillips 66 Complex, gushing in flames. He immediately called 911 just as another explosion shook the ground beneath him and sent him to his knees. “While outside, two more explosions went off. There was black smoke and flames everywhere,” said the resident.

He quickly returned to his residence, gathered his young son, and safely drove to safety in nearby Borger.

As of 3:30 p.m., Tuesday afternoon, the resident and his son were waiting safely in Borger to return to their home.

Time Line

* At approximately 10:15 a.m., on Tuesday morning, Borger News-Herald began receiving reports from citizens of an explosion and fire in the area of Johnson Tank Farm (about 3 miles north, northwest of Borger).

* At approximately 10:45 a.m., the City of Borger/Hutchinson County OEM Facebook page reported, “Highway 136 closed from Borger to Stinnett due to an incident at the Johnson Tank Farm.”

* Hutchinson County Sheriff Deputy Oscar Rojas confirmed the explosion and fire to the Borger News-Herald at approximately 10:58 a.m. Rojas also reported 3 to 5 ambulances on the scene and two helicopters responding to injuries.

* The Borger Complex released the following statement via the City of Borger/Hutchinson County OEM Facebook page at approximately 11:15 a.m. Tuesday:

“At approximately 10:15 a.m. today, a fire occurred at the Phillips 66 Borger Complex. Emergency responders, along with the Borger Fire Department, were immediately notified to suppress the fire and are currently responding. As of now, the fire is still active, and personnel are working to stabilize the situation. All personnel on site have been accounted for, and three injured individuals are receiving appropriate medical attention. The safety of our people, the community, and the environment are of the utmost importance to our company, and these priorities will guide our efforts as we respond to the incident. The cause of the incident is under investigation.”

* As of 3 p.m. (CDT), SH 136 between Borger and Stinnett is still closed. No information was available as to when the highway would reopen.

Golden Plains Community Hospital CEO Dr. Don Bates confirmed seven injuries from the explosion and fire on Tuesday afternoon.

“Four critical patients were transferred directly to UMC (United Medical Center Health System in Lubbock, Texas) via air ambulance, and three second-degree patients were brought to Golden Plains Community Hospital for treatment.”

Bates praised the first responders and medical staff’s quick response.

“I’d like to recognize Jason Pender and all first responders, including EMS, the Borger Fire Department, and the Police, for their quick response. Additionally, we are grateful for Drs. Gadberry, Mann, & Weber, our nurses, and the trauma team for responding immediately to triage patients and treating them in the Emergency Department. An additional shout out to Dr. Dustin Hawley for being readily available on standby.”

Editors Note: Borger News-Herald reached out for further comment or updates by the Borger Complex Tuesday afternoon but did not receive a response. Borger News-Herald will continue to follow this story and provide more information and updates as they become available.