One injured; air lifted to Houston after explosion
Photo by Donna O'Connor | Robertson County News The second crude oil holding tank burns as crews back away from the sight expecting a third tank to explode.
At roughly noon on Wednesday, July 9 an oil rig operation two miles northeast of Franklin, just outside of New Baden rocked the country side when one oil holding tank exploded, followed by a second. The explosion occurred near the Rabe Cutoff Rd.
One injury has been reported. A 24 year old Hispanic male was standing on top of the oil holding tank when it exploded. According to officials on the scene, the man was blown from the tank sustaining burns well over 75% of his body as well as head trauma.
According to witnesses on the scene, the man was working on the tank with an acetylene torch when the explosion occurred. The sight, which contained a pump was in it’s final days of operation and crews were on hand to take the station offline.
Air lift helicopter arrived on the scene to transport the man to Houston’s Herman Hospital, however he needed to undergo a decontamination process before he could be transported. The injured was covered in crude oil and posed a danger to himself as well as the emergency crews on the scene. Protocol calls for a decontamination for the safety of everyone involved.
An all call bulletin rang out through the scanner as emergency crews from across Robertson County converged to the scene however they were put on hold as the possibility of a third tank exploding backed everyone away. Residents living along the road were also evacuated and at the time of this report had not been allowed to return home.
“It looks like at this point they are going to just have to let itself burn out,” said Constable Benny McCrea. According to McCrea a local resident showed a photograph that depicted crude oil in a drainage ditch after the last heavy rain close to the oil tank sight. The photo was taken a little over a week ago and the resident reported the oil spill to the company.
No other injuries have been reported. Visit the Robertson County website for more news as this story develops past our print deadline.
Dennis Phillips | Robertson County News
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