State News

Fort Bragg firefighters going to Puerto Rico

Posted October 25, 2009 4:05 a.m. EDT
Updated October 25, 2009 3:54 p.m. EDT

— Fort Bragg is sending four civilian firefighters to Puerto Rico to help fight an explosion at a petroleum plant near an Army installation there.

Firefighters Donald Ramsey, Kevin Durham, David Coleman and Trent Strayer left early Sunday for Fort Buchanan.

More than 1,500 people were evacuated after Friday's earthshaking explosion at the Caribbean Petroleum Corp. in the suburb of Bayamon, just west of the capital of San Juan.

"This is probably going to be the biggest fire we've ever seen," Strayer said.

The Bragg firefighters will assist the fire department at Fort Buchanan, which was damaged in the blast. The department only has one fire engine.

Strayer said he was honored to be chosen from among 10 volunteers for this mission. Bragg officials said they could only send four, so they have enough staff to keep Bragg safe.

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation. Officials said 15 of 40 fuel tanks caught fire.

The Bragg firefighters are expected to be in Puerto Rico for about a week.