OK Rig Blast Kills 2, Hurts 3

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 @ 01:12 PM gHale

An explosion and fire at a southeastern Oklahoma oil rig early Friday killed two workers and injured three others, two of them critically.

The explosion occurred around 1 a.m. on the deck of a rig about 2 miles west of Coalgate, about 100 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, said Sam Schafnitt, chief of operations for the state Fire Marshal’s Office.

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Schafnitt said the fire is out and investigators from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) were helping investigate the cause of the explosion.

“We’re just trying to put the puzzle pieces on the table and (are) looking at them,” he said.

Matt Skinner, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry, said there were no evacuations near the rig and there were not any reports of significant environmental damage.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office identified the dead as Gary Keenen, 26, of Ada, and Kelsey Bellah, 27, of Tulsa. Schafnitt said emergency personnel airlifted the critically injured workers to a hospital burn unit in Oklahoma City. The third injured worker sustained burns on his hands, he said. Schafnitt did not identify the injured workers.

All of the workers worked at Dan D. Drilling of Lamont, OK, said Juan J. Rodriguez of the U.S. Department of Labor in Dallas. Amarillo, Texas-based Pablo Energy owns the rig.

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