Three people have been injured in an oil well explosion and fire that occurred in South Jasper County. Firemen and other emergency crews were dispatched to the location on County Road 607, just east of Highway 96, between Kirbyville and Buna shortly before 11:00 when it was reported that the accident had occurred.
A sign at the gate leading into the site indicated that the well was being operated by Jeffcoat Production Company.
Originally it was reported that four people had been injured. However, Jasper County Sheriff Mitchel Newman later said that one of the men refused medical treatment and that two of the men had been flown by medical helicopter to a Beaumont hospital and the other had been taken by ambulance. Newman later said that the condition of the worker transported by ambulance had taken a turn the worse and that he had been transferred from the ambulance to a helicopter.
Jasper County Sheriff's Department Lieutenant Scotty Duncan said that the most seriously injured man had severe burns from the waist up.
A person at the scene said that the incident occurred as workers were circulating the well. The person said that natural gas fumes apparently got into the engine that turns the pump, and despite their efforts to shut the engine and pump down it ran away uncontrolled and then exploded.
Jasper County Sheriff Mitchel Newman said that the workers were using a temporary derrick and truck commonly known as a "work over rig" to perform maintenance at the well site. The well is located just north of what is commonly referred to as the "Southwestern Ranch" which is a large expanse of cleared land located between Kirbyville and Buna.
Firemen from Buna, Kirbyville and Trout Creek were called to the scene and had extinguished the fire within a short time.