CSB Investigates Fatal Ohio Oilfield Explosion

A two-person investigative team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) traveled to the scene of an Oct. 19 fatal explosion at a rural Ohio oilfield. The explosion killed two contract workers at a facility operated by Canada-based Mar Oil Co. in La Rue, Ohio, located approximately 60 miles northwest of Columbus.

According to media reports, Jessie Price, 45, and Kevin Fout, 53, were welding near an oil storage tank that exploded at approximately 2:30 p.m. Both men were killed instantly, according to reports.

"This latest tragedy comes less than 2 weeks after a welder was killed and others were injured by an oil tank explosion in Honolulu," said CSB Chairman John Bresland. "Our team will seek to determine if there are similarities between the accident in Ohio and previous cases involving welding in the vicinity of flammable storage tanks."

CSB investigated an accident in June 2006 at an oilfield near Jackson, Miss., which occurred during an operation to weld a pipe onto a crude oil storage tank. No flammable gas testing had been conducted, and flammable vapor escaping from a nearby tank ignited. The resulting explosion killed three contract workers and injured a fourth.

CSB recently issued a safety video based on the case, titled Death in the Oilfield, which can be viewed at http://safetyvideos.gov.

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