Jan. 22 (UPI) — Five people are missing after an explosion and fire Monday morning at a natural gas drilling well in Oklahoma, officials said.
Before 9 a.m., a derrick crumpled to the ground at a site operated by Red Mountain Energy west of Quintin in Pittsburg County, about 90 miles south of Tulsa, the Pittsburg County sheriff office said. Aerial video from KWTV-TV showed flames shooting 50 feet in the air.
Seventeen crew members were working on the rig when it exploded and 12 remain unaccounted for, Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris said at a news conference.
One worker suffered burns but refused ambulance transport.
The fire is “kind of containing itself” and crews aren’t using water or other methods to control the fire because it would spread hazardous materials at the natural gas well site, Pittsburg County Emergency Management Director Kevin Enloe said at the news conference.
Nitrous oxide was leaking, officials told WJRH-TV.
Hours after the explosion fires were still burning firefighters were going to bring nitroglycerin to the site, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.
A few weeks ago, the rig was erected.
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