Flash Fire Kills 1 Oil Worker, Injures 3

Wednesday, June 22, 2016 @ 07:06 AM gHale


One worker died and three suffered injuries in a fire at a McKenzie County, ND, oil well site over the weekend, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials said Monday.

Crews were working on a workover rig on a well about 8 miles east of Watford City when the well ignited about 8:30 a.m. Saturday, said Eric Brooks, director of the Bismarck area OSHA office.

RELATED STORIES
Explosion at PA Energy Plant
‘Fireballs’ Force Evac in CA
Chemical Fire in NC Warehouse
NC Chemical Plant Blast Forces Evac

The owner of the well, XTO Energy, described the incident as a “flash fire.”

Johnny Stassinos, 52, Rock Springs, WY, died from his injuries Saturday afternoon at Trinity Hospital in Minot, the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office said.

Daniel Montes, 28, Fruita, CO, and Richard Maheu, 27, Rock Springs, WY, suffered serious burns and were in critical condition at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, the sheriff’s office said.

Justin Pyle, 30, Grand Junction, CO, ended up treated and released for minor injuries from McKenzie County Heathcare Systems Hospital in Watford City, officials said.

The workers were employees of Most Wanted Well Service and SEI Well Service, said Emily Snooks, a spokeswoman for XTO, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp.

OSHA has launched an investigation and an inspector is at the site, Brooks said.

XTO has also formed an investigation team to determine the cause of the incident, Snooks said.

“We are greatly saddened by this tragic incident, and we express our deepest sympathy to the workers and the families of those affected,” Snooks said.

Alison Ritter, spokeswoman for the Department of Mineral Resources, said crews were working on a well that had been fracked when the well “experienced a kick of gas” on Saturday morning.

When deputies arrived on scene, the fire was out, authorities said. First-responders provided basic first aid on scene. One victim ended up airlifted from the scene, the sheriff’s office said.

A workover rig is smaller than a drilling rig and ends up used for well completions and maintenance.

The incident did not cause any oil or other contamination to leave the well location, according to the North Dakota Department of Health.

This is the second oil and gas fatality OSHA has investigated in North Dakota in 2016, Brooks said.