WY Oil Site Blast; 3 Killed

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 @ 03:08 PM gHale

Three workers laying a fuel line at a Wyoming oil storage site died after an explosion rocked the facility, an oil company spokesman said.

The blast at 10 a.m. Monday near Glenrock in a remote region of eastern Wyoming sparked a 10-acre fire before firefighters brought it under control, Samson Resources Co. spokesman Dennis Neill said. The fuel line where the blast victims had been working was to supply a heater treatment facility that separates oil from water as they pump out of the ground.

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The workers worked with a contractor Tulsa, OK-based Samson had hired to bring an oil well back into production at the site, Neill said. The well wasn’t involved in the explosion and fire, which happened on the Hornbuckle Ranch, about 50 miles northeast of Casper.

Neil declined to name the company that employed the workers. Samson officials were traveling to the area, and state and federal investigators were on the scene, he said.

Neill said local and federal authorities are investigating the explosion, with the cause still unknown. Authorities have not named the three workers pending notification of next of kin.

The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services reported last week the number of occupational fatalities in the state rose to 34 last year — an increase of nearly 79 percent from the year before. Of those 34 workplace deaths, 10 were in natural resources and mining.

A bill that would have increased employer penalties for workplace safety violations died early last year in the Wyoming State Senate. Then-Gov. Dave Freudenthal had urged passage of the bill, which industry groups supported.

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