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Fire at Texas oil field leaves 4 injured

Oil fields often play host to an array of hazardous conditions for workers. All too often, fires and explosions occur at Texas oil fields, leaving workers seriously or fatally injured. Luckily, no one was killed when a fire broke out at an oil field just south of Midway, Texas, on Oct. 2.

Emergency responders were called to the scene around 2 p.m. after a tank battery caught fire at an oil well belonging to Navidad Resources, LLC. The oil well was on leased property owned by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Ferguson Unit, a men's prison.

Oil field workers had been painting equipment on top of the tank when the fire broke out. The first responders to the scene said the fire was approximately 10-feet high when they arrived. At least four workers were injured. Three of the workers had to be airlifted to a hospital for treatment and a third was treated at the scene.

Within minutes, the Midway Volunteer Fire Department arrived at the scene and extinguished the fire using foam. By 2:53 p.m., the fire was put out. By 3:10 p.m., three helicopters had landed to pick up the injured workers. By 3:31 p.m., the helicopters took off with the injured workers in two.

The Madison County Emergency Management Coordinator said county emergency responders and TDCJ Ferguson Unit staff members had been pre-planning and exercising for an oil field emergency and that is the reason the oil site incident was handled so quickly and seamlessly.

The incident will now be under investigation by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as workers were injured. Navidad Resources, LLC could potentially face fines if safety hazards are discovered. Personal injury lawsuits or workers' compensation claims are also likely.

Source: Madisonville Meteor, "Oil field accident injures four at TDCJ," Fernando Castro, Oct. 10, 2012

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