February 18, 2018

Houston company says workers missing after blast

24 January 2018, 02:03 | Kara Nash

Communities are mourning the loss of the five men killed in a gas well explosion in Quinton OK

Communities are mourning the loss of the five men killed in a gas well explosion in Quinton OK

"From what I understand, one guy was up high on the derrick and he grabbed a guideline and slid down, which would have been scary, but he survived", Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris said.

The explosion happened at about 9 a.m. Monday (Jan. 22). One was airlifted to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa to treat burns.

Most fatal incidents involved workers from servicing companies, but drilling companies accounted for 27 fatalities, the second most of any oil and gas industry group, according to the study. Morris said those presumed dead include Josh Ray, 35, of Fort Worth, TX; Matt Smith, 29, of McAlester, OK; Cody Risk, 26, of Wellington, CO; Parker Waldridge of Crescent, OK, and Roger Cunningham of Seminole, OK.

Houston-based company Patterson-UTI Energy owns the rig.

"We never want to look at something like this and not dive deep into it", Mullin said.

The incident report into the explosion and fire that killed five workers was released on Tuesday by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates oil and gas operations in the state.

"We've reached out to their families and are providing support during this hard time", said Patterson-UTI Energy President & CEO Andy Hendricks in a statement.

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Oklahoma Office of Emergency Management spokeswoman Keli Cain tells The Associated Press that it wasn't immediately clear if there were any injuries or fatalities. The derrick, a towering metal structure above the well, also collapsed.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has opened a federal investigation into the incident, according to Morris.

Enloe said officials were "able to verify 100 percent accountability" for anyone on the site at the time of the explosion. Officials said 16 got away safely while one was treated for burns and released.

Skinner said a company that specializes in rig fires and other well control problems also responded to the blaze. The well is a natural gas and oil well.

Enloe says firefighters are searching nearby wooded areas in case any of the missing people fled after the explosion.

Skinner said because the explosion was a "workplace accident", OSHA and the Oklahoma Department of Labor would handle the investigation to determine what happened and assess any necessary fines.

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