At Lapeze & Johns, we understand how lucrative a career in the oil and gas industry can be. However, in our many years of experience working with those who have been injured while on the job, the financial upside of these jobs always comes with risk.
That was something made abundantly clear again this summer near the town of Big Spring in Texas.
A “Fortunate” Fire
Lucky is not a word that anyone typically thinks of when a fire occurs, particularly when people are involved. Fortunately, the fire that occurred at a rig located north of the town of Big Spring on July 23 did not present any extended problems for responding emergency personnel.
Additionally, there was no loss of life or injury as a result of the blaze, which occurred at a site under the control of Patterson-UTI. The handling of the fire was a true joint effort from multiple local volunteer fire departments and emergency personnel.
Altogether, the response included firefighters from the Howard County Volunteer Fire Department, Lamesa Fire Rescue and volunteer firefighters, Ackerly volunteer firefighters, and emergency responders from both Martin and Dawson County.
Howard County Volunteer Fire Chief Mitchell Hooper told local media that crews were first alerted to the fire shortly before 9:00 a.m. The fire was finally extinguished at around 12:45 p.m., ending what was a 4-hour ordeal for the combined teams. There were no serious issues reported by any of the crews involved.
There was some admitted trepidation from some of the workers involved, Lamesa Fire Chief Larry Duyck later revealed upon being shown footage of the fire that was taken by a drone. Patterson-UTI issued a statement later describing what they believed was behind the accident.
According to reports, the fire appeared to be the result of equipment malfunctioning. They were quick to report that it was not a well control incident, making sure to deflect blame in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
One simple fact that can’t be ignored in all these incidents is that no matter how common they become, these incidents do not always result in changes that could protect future workers. Employees approach this industry with careful consideration, something that is not always given back in regards to their safety. This is something that can’t be tolerated and which no one needs to suffer from.