At 11:30 am Thursday, the Karnes County Sheriff’s Office received a call reporting an oil fire near the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 887 and County Road 229, two miles east of Falls City.
Sheriff’s deputies along with the Karnes City and Falls City fire departments and Highway Patrol responded.
Upon arrival emergency personnel found a work-over drilling rig and two work-over trucks on fire.
An automatic shut off switch inside the well had shut the rig down, officials said.
The two burning trucks were the cause of most of the smoke that could be seen from miles away.
“The well is 20 or 30 years old and is 6,500 feet” said Sheriff David Jalufka. “It is not part of the Eagle Ford Shale. It is not deep enough.”
One rig operator was airlifted to Brook Army Medical Center with possible first and second degree burns on his hands and arms.
A second rig operator was transported to Otto Kaiser Memorial Hospital with burns on his stomach.
“We are very fortunate” stated Jalufka. “The injuries were not life threatening. “
Residents living in a one mile radius of the explosion were ordered to evacuate but were allowed to return home when the order was lifted at 2:15 pm.
FM 887 and County Road 229 were closed to traffic until the explosion and fire were contained and the injured rig operators taken to the hospital.