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Eagle Ford

Five workers remain hospitalized after Eagle Ford rig fire

By Jennifer Hiller - Fuel Fix, October 31, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Five contractors working on a workover rig in remote La Salle County remain at San Antonio Military Medical Center for treatment after suffering serious burns a week ago.

The workers were injured in a fire Oct. 24 at a Pioneer Natural Resources site.

“Pioneer continues to work with their families and employers to make sure they have the resources they need during this difficult period,” said Tadd Owens, vice president of communications and government relations for Pioneer.

“The workover rig and well site experienced minimal physical damage. We are conducting an internal investigation of the incident, as well as working with the contractors and appropriate authorities to determine the cause of the fire.”

La Salle County Judge Joel Rodriguez Jr. said that McMullen and Live Oak counties also responded to the fire, about 21 miles east of Cotulla.

Rodriguez said the accident highlights the public safety challenges facing rural counties with lots of oil and gas activity. The county has invested in new GIS systems to locate sites with hazardous materials and has improved ambulance and fire service, as well as adding sheriff’s deputies.

But rigs move frequently. On large ranches, it can be hard for emergency responders to know which road to take to get to a rig, Rodriguez said. Sometimes the gate guards don’t know where workers are on a property.

“One of the biggest concerns we continue to have is you have so many rigs drilling in a remote area,” Rodriguez said. “The drilling sites will continue to change as these wells get completed.”

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