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A blast occurred at a Utah oil drilling site on May 7, Utah Public Radio reported. An oil tank on site exploded around 8:30 p.m., about 20 miles south of Roosevelt and 100 miles east of Salt Lake City, in a rural area outside of Myton. The explosion resulted in one death and one injury. Tyson Boren, 28, died while carrying out routine welding maintenance on the crude oil tank with Rusty Harris, 32, who was injured and is expected to recover. Boren was a contracted welder, and Harris served as a well pumper on the site for Newfield Exploration Co.
Once the 400-barrell tank exploded, industrial fire alarms sounded and first-responders from Uintah and Duchesne counties reported to the scene and were able to suppress the fire. The situation is now reported as stable.
The investigation is ongoing, but according to the Star Telegram, preliminary results revealed that a welder sparked the explosion while using a torch on the tank. It quickly became clear that the fire had not reached the interior of the well, fortunately avoiding an oil fire. The flames were quickly extinguished, and the situation did not pose any danger to the public at large.
The eastern Utah tank belongs to Newfield Exploration Co., an oil company based in The Woodlands, Texas. Newfield Exploration is Utah's largest oil manufacturer – more than 8.5 million barrels of crude oil were produced by the company in the state in 2012.
"It's a tragic event. Our thoughts are with the families," Newfield Exploration spokesman Keith Schmidt said. "We pride ourselves on a safe work environment and will be doing a full assessment of the unit."
Industrial Safety News brought to you by Safety Systems Technology, Inc., leaders in fire and gas detection systems.