Crews drain, pull old oil tanker from the ground
A work crew drained then pulled an oil tanker car from the ground Saturday, as work progressed on clearing an obstacle on the site of the new public safety facility east of downtown.
Gill's Waste Oil and Gill's Demolition was in charge of the project that is removing the tanker car, which was buried on the south half of the 5-acre tract that stretches between Larrance and Railroad Street, just south of East Gore Boulevard. But, what city officials said was diesel inside the tanker car was, instead, tar, workers on the site said Saturday.
City of Lawton officials had said they knew an underground structure was there, but they were surprised last week to discover that what they thought was an oil tank was a much larger rail tanker car that they estimated dates to the 1930s. City Engineer George Hennessee said the city was waiting for the result of testing before pumping the liquid out of the tanker car, then pulling the empty car out of the ground so it can be hauled to a landfill that accepts hazardous waste (because of the liquid coating the car's interior).
Officials with Gill's said Saturday that the substance was tar of a thick consistency that took several hours to pump out of the car. Once it was removed under a joint venture between Gill's Waste Oil and Hamm & Phillips a wrecker from Hat Wrecker and a backhoe from Gill's Demolition were able to pull the intact tank from the ground and leave it above ground.
Gill's said the tanker will be loaded on a flatbed truck and hauled away Monday.
City officials say they expect to find other items on the site of the public safety complex because the industrial area is a former railroad yard and also housed a concrete plant at one time.