CSB sends investigators to Oklahoma oil field blast site

The US Chemical Safety Board sent investigators on Apr. 21 to the site of an Apr. 14 Oklahoma oil field explosion that killed a member of the general public.

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Apr. 22 -- The US Chemical Safety Board sent investigators on Apr. 21 to the site of an Apr. 14 Oklahoma oil field explosion that killed a member of the general public. The blast occurred just a day after CSB released a safety video aimed at educating young people on the hazards of socializing at oil production sites, a common phenomenon in rural areas.

A 21-year-old died of burns sustained in the Apr. 14 explosion and fire near Waleetka, Okla., CSB said. A second person apparently was injured critically when two tank batteries exploded at the site east of Oklahoma City, according to published reports. No additional information was available.

CSB board member William Wark said the independent federal agency has become very concerned about explosions at rural oil field sites which continue to take the lives of young people.

“Only last week, I met the families of two teenagers killed last October in an oil site explosion in Mississippi,” he said. “In that accident and in others across the country, the victims have had easy access to storage tanks, catwalks, and hatches, and do not appear to have been aware of the serious explosion hazard from highly flammable vapor that is inside or near the tanks.”

CSB released a safety video, “No Place to Hang Out,” on Apr. 13 aimed at educating young people on the hazards of socializing at oil production sites. It tells the story of 18-year-old Wade White and 16-year-old Devon Byrd who were killed on Oct. 31, 2009, when an oil tank in a clearing in the woods near where they lived suddenly exploded. The 11-min video is online at www.csb.gov.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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