1 Dead in WY Oil Tank Explosion

Monday, November 3, 2014 @ 04:11 PM gHale


A welder died and another person suffered injuries Thursday after an oil tank exploded west of Cheyenne, WY, state officials said.

The welder was working on top of the tank at Tri State Oil Reclaimers when it exploded, said Rita Martin, a secretary at the company.

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A Tri State employee who witnessed the blast was undergoing treatment at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, said Hayley McKee, a spokeswoman for the Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is investigating the incident.

The fire, first reported around 10:30 a.m., drew fire departments across Laramie County. Districts 1, 2, 8 and 10 all responded to the blaze at 1770 Otto Road west of the city, as did emergency personnel from F.E. Warren Air Force Base and the city of Cheyenne, said Capt. Lydia Gesell of the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department.

Initial reports said firefighters were able to contain the blaze within a half-hour, Gesell said.

The name of the deceased worker ended up withheld pending notification of next of kin, she said.

Darrick Mittlestadt, fire chief for Laramie County Fire District 1, was responding to another call at the time. But initial reports suggested the cover blew off the oil tank where the welder was working, he said. There were reports of spilling and an active fire, he said.

The death is the most recent in a series of oilfield fatalities in Wyoming. In September, one man died and three others suffered injuries after a flash fire at a natural gas storage tank in Lincoln County.

Earlier in September, a man died near Rawlins after a pump jack struck him.



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