A little over half the building was rubble after the fire. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

ARCOLA – Cody Christman was on his way westward on Highway 13 at Kisbey when he got an urgent call to come back his shop he had just left in Arcola.

It was on fire.

The owner of Outlaw Ventures, a boiler outfit that specializes in heating frac water, found his shop in flames when he got there.

By the time all was said and done, three-fifths of a building that used to house Noble Well Services, Outlaw Ventures and Titanium Oilfield Services on the north side of Highway 13 was a smoking pile of rubble, being hosed down by volunteer firefighters.

“We’re not sure, yet, where it started. Titanium Energy Services had a bay rented next to me,” Christman said at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 24. He was sitting in his truck, watching from the yard next door that he used to rent. It was only this past summer he moved over to the building that had just burnt.

Chris Nidesh, area manager for Noble Well Services, said it happened around 11 a.m. He explained, “The main guy from Titanium came into my office and said, ‘Bay 3’s on fire.’

“And we literally walked around this, the north side of the building, and the smoke was starting to come out of Bay 3. And so, by the time I phoned 911, which I was standing right about here (north of the building), the flames started shooting out Bay 3. And at that point, we had a lot of fire trucks and everything started showing up. And JJ Trucking was a big savior here, because he brought a trackhoe. And we were able to rip the one door down and saw that the fire was in the wall between Bay 2 and Bay 4. And from there, it just it just went up.”

Nidesh continued, “Cody from Outlaw Ventures, he had just left. Like, he was in the bay, by that started on fire, by the wall. Right? And he had just left he didn’t even make it to Kisbey when I phoned him.”

An excavator tearing the building in half saved what was left. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

Jeremy Johnson, owner of JJ Trucking, is also a firefighter. He brought in an excavator and proceeded to tear the building roughly in half, saving what they could.

Nidesh said, “Bays 1, 2 and 3 were a total loss. At that point, we decided to cut the building and saved the last two bays.

Chris Nidesh. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

The result did indeed save the western two bays of the five-bay building, including most of Noble’s facilities. (Their wash bay, on the east end, was destroyed).

Arcola assistant fire chief Blake Brownridge was running the excavator, piling rubble, at 4 p.m. he said, “We realized that water wasn’t going to get it out. We needed to get in and get the building separated off to try to save as much of it as we could. Jeremy ran and got a got a hoe and then Flying G brought a a payloader and pulled some service rigs out of Noble’s bays,”

Brownridge noted Classic Vac of Carlyle and Monster Enterprise of Arcola brought water.

Firefighters were still pouring water on the fire, over five hours after it started. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

“We had Kisbey and Carlyle on the scene with us today, with Arcola,” Brownridge said.

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“There were about 25 members between the three,” he said, when asked how many firefighters responded.

There were no injuries, Brownridge said.

“It definitely started in Bay 3, is what we can tell. That’s the one we were having trouble with when we first got here,” he said, adding he couldn’t say what caused the blaze.

This is roughly where the wall between Bays 2 and 3 were. That was was glowing in the early stages of the fire.

There was a rush to get equipment out of the building. A loader was used to drag two of Noble’s service rigs out of the building, as there weren’t drivable at the time. A pile of pressurized tanks could be found west of the building. Three of Titanium’s trucks, with large, pressurized nitrogen tanks on the back, were removed.

“That (Outlaw) truck is a loss but, believe it or not, when they were trying to push it from inside and their mechanic actually smashed the window got in, fired it up and drove it over there. What are the odds of that?” Nidesh said, pointing to the boiler truck that was black from smoke.

This boiler truck was started and driven out, obviously worse for wear. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

But not everything made it out. South of the building, a car was on its side, dragged out and placed beside a smoked-covered pickup. Other destroyed vehicles were visible on the east side of the rubble pile.

By late afternoon a large generator was plumbed in to provide power and heat to the remainder of the building, meant to prevent any remaining pipes from freezing.

Nidesh said they thought it could have been a boiler, but when they ripped the door down, all the boilers were fine. “Everything inside was fine. It was in the wall, between the two bays that was like glowing, hot flaming,” he said, adding he wasn’t a fire investigator.

“That wall there that you can see, that was my shop,” Christmas said, having just got off the phone with his insurer.

Cody Christman. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

Christman has been working in the area since 2008. “We’ve got 14 boilers, one of the bigger boiler companies down here,” he said, noting they do frac operations, service rigs and production steaming.”

“I’ve got a burnt up boiler there, burnt up trucks up here.”

“I had a boiler truck a couple crew trucks. An operator had his car in there. And then I had my office stuff, all my parts and tools, tires and all that good stuff,” he said.

Most of Christman’s fleet was out in the field. “If it has happened before four o’clock this morning or after eight o’clock, I wouldn’t have anything left because we park them all inside,” he said. As a result, theyell be able to continue operations. One consultant got a call saying that unit wouldn’t be able to make it. Now he’s looking for a shop to rent, Christman said.

“They split the whole building in half to keep that side from burning. So they went right through my bay and office,” Christman said.

He was good-humored about it, noting there was not much you could do about it.

That was also where he often lays his head at night. Christman farms and ranches at Beechy during the warm months, and spends the winters at Arcola, running boilers. The company has 15 to 20 people working for it.

Several Noble employees had their vehicles parked in the wash bay on the east end of the building. Nidesh said, “One guy lost a truck another lost a car. Obviously, the building’s a loss.”

They’ll be able to continue operations, he said, noting their middle management can work from home.

 

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  • 0029 Latus Viro updated Latus phone
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  • 0027 TED_NA Helium 2021_30
  • 0028 SIMSA_Energy_Forum_2022
  • 0025 Kendalls
  • 0026 Buffalo Potash Quinton Salt
  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0014 Buffalo Potash What if PO
  • 0015 Latus Viro PO Ad 01
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0004 Royal Helium PO Ad 02
  • 9001
  • 0002
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