2 injured in oil rig explosion: Giddings workers hospitalized after accident near Falls City
by Danay Gilley
Sep 29, 2011 | 2730 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A truck and oil rig burn at a location several miles north of Falls City after an explosion on Thursday, Sept. 22. Volunteers with the Karnes City and Falls City Volunteer Fire Departments were able to bring the blaze under control in a few hours.
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FALLS CITY – At 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22, the Karnes County Sheriff’s Department received a call reporting an oil fire near the intersection of FM 887 and County Road 229 at a location 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, a work over trucks and another truck pumping oil caught on fire.

The fire burned 45 barrels of oil on the truck and caused two 500 Gallon propane tanks on the truck to explode.

An automatic shut off switch inside the well had shut the rig down.

The two burning trucks are the cause of most of the smoke that could be seen from miles away.

“The well is twenty or thirty years old and is 6500 feet” said Karnes County Sheriff David Jalufka. “It is not part of the Eagle Ford Shale. It is not deep enough.”

One rig operator, from Giddings, was airlifted to BAMC with possible third degree burns on his hands and arms.

A second rig operator, also from Giddings, was transported to Otto Kaiser Memorial Hospital with first degree 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 Co Rd 229 was closed to traffic until the situation was contained and the injured rig operators were transported.

The well is operated by the Houston based company Amerill Energy, LLC.

According to Ramona Nye, spokesperson for the Texas Railroad Commission a preliminary investigation has revealed that a hot oil truck owned by Texas Hot Oilers ignited.

The fire then spread to the other equipment. Firefighters stayed on the scene for several hours to make sure hotspots did not reignite.

EMS and law enforcement also remained at the scene as a security and safety measure.

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