Injection Well Explodes Near Hammon
HAMMON, Oklahoma - An injection well caught fire Friday and exploded, sending flames and a big column of smoke shooting into the sky.
It happened in Hammon in far Western Oklahoma. It's hard to believe from watching the video, but fortunately nobody was hurt.
"Just like a can of pork and beans on a stove,” Leedey Fire Chief Tony Morelan said. “Eventually it is going to blow up."
It did, and a News 9 camera was rolling. Just moments before fire crews were spraying down the tank with water trying to cool it down and keep it from exploding, but their efforts were just no match for the heated pressure.
"It's probably not as dangerous as it was since the well has been shut in,” Corporation Commission oil and gas inspector Kyle Ivey said.
Ivey was staked out across the street. His eyes did not leave the rolling smoke and temperamental flames in front of him. While the biggest threat had just passed, it was still very dangerous, and Ivey was making sure the situation was contained and posed no threat to anyone or to the environment. Inside the tanks is a mixture of oil and water.
However, this wasn't the first explosion. Just hours before people who live nearby were shook.
"I really thought someone had driven their car into our house,” Kim Brewster said. “That's how loud it was."
Her home is about 300 yards away. Her windows shook and when she looked outside she saw what happened after the explosion.
"It was just engulfed in flames,” she said. “There was a man in the building and he came running out. I'm assuming he's one of the guys who works there.”
He wasn't hurt and neither was anyone else.
It's not the first time folks in western Oklahoma have been rattled like this, but it sure packs quite the punch when it happens.
"We've got lots of oil and gas activity and that goes along with it,” Ted Thomason said.
Early indications were lightning may have sparked the first explosion, but the exact cause is still under investigation.