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Explosion, Fire At Oklahoma Oil Drilling Rig Kills Two Workers, Leaves Three Others Critically Injured

Explosion, Fire At Oklahoma Oil Drilling Rig Kills Two Workers, Leaves Three Others Critically Injured

  • March 12th, 2015
  • Mike Hill
  • Comments Off

Two people were killed and three others critically injured after a fire erupted at an oil drilling rig in southeastern Oklahoma early Friday morning, officials said, adding that investigators from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, were headed to the scene.

The oilfield workers, identified as 26-year-old Gary Keenen of Ada and 27-year-old Kelsey Bellah of Tulsa, died after suffering injuries during an explosion at the rig about 2 miles west of Coalgate in a remote area of rural Coal County about 100 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, CBS affiliate KWTV in Oklahoma City reported.

“We had a fire at an oil derrick and there were two individuals that were killed,” Sam Schafnitt, chief of operations for Oklahoma’s Office of the State Fire Marshal, said by telephone.

Out of the three injured workers, two were transported to trauma centers in critical condition, while another sustained burns to his hands, he said.

The accident at the rig, which is owned by Pablo Energy of Amarillo, Texas, occurred off Highway 31, near the town of Coalgate, which is about halfway between Dallas and Tulsa, Okla., the Associated Press reported.

“This happened in a very rural area of the state, so we still don’t have many details,” Schafnitt said.

However, there were no reports that the explosion and fire had caused any environmental damage that would require subsequent cleanup or precautionary evacuations, Matt Skinner, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission that regulates the oil and gas industry, said, adding that he wasn’t aware if the fire was still burning.

Meanwhile, Coal County Sheriff Bryan Jump, who is at the scene, was not immediately available for comment. A telephone call to Pablo Energy was also not immediately returned.

The accident in Oklahoma comes one month after a worker for Halliburton Co. was killed in Colorado while conducting hydraulic fracturing operations, according to Nasdaq.

This story was first published at

Oklahoma Oilfield Accidents

The oilfield is a dangerous place to work. Oilfield injuries are frequent in all phases of oil and gas well drilling. Injuries may occur during testing, completion, frac jobs, wireline operations and other oil well work over activities.Drilling for oil is dangerous work that requires the use of heavy equipment and high-speed machinery. Pressurizing the well, pipes and vessels, and the use of combustibles are also common in the work place. Sometimes oil companies put profits before safety. Ask anyone that works in the oilfield, on offshore oil rigs, on jack ups, or platforms, the oil drilling business is dangerous. Whether drilling wells, doing work-overs, or fracking, safety is always a concern.

Oilfield workers are often forced to work long periods of time without adequate rest, to take chances in the spirit of being a team player, to work with some workers that are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or to work beside oilfield workers that often take short cuts and ignore established safety standards in order to keep the drilling rig operating at a fast, high profit rate. Another area for concern is the hiring of green or inexperienced workers that have not been properly trained, and subjecting them to dangerous conditions that can injure themselves or endanger others. Hiring and working oilfield workers that are not skilled at a fast pace is a recipe for disaster, serious injuries and even death.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a oilfield accident, then you may have the right to file a legal action. If you would like to have your case reviewed call us today at (405) 232-HURT.


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