QUINTON, Okla. – Dispatchers were flooded with 911 calls earlier this week after a drilling rig exploded in Pittsburg County.
Around 9 a.m. Monday, emergency crews were called to an explosion at a well site about four miles southwest of Quinton.
“We have an oil rig that is on fire. It just exploded,. We are west of Quinton, Oklahoma” one man told a 911 dispatcher in a call obtained by KJRH.
Dispatcher: “OK. What’s the name of the rig?”
Caller: “It is Patterson 219.”
Dispatcher: “Patterson 219. Is anybody hurt?”
Caller: “Yes, ma’am. There’s multiple people hurt. There was a full crew on the rig when it exploded.”
Dispatcher: “Do you know how many?”
Caller: “I believe six people.”
Dispatcher: “Six? OK, I’m going to get you fire trucks and ambulances headed that way, sir.”
Authorities say there were 22 workers on the well site, which was being drilled by Houston-based Patterson-UTI Energy, at the time of the explosion.
Tragically, five people were killed in the blast.
On Tuesday morning, officials identified the victims as 35-year-old Josh Ray, 29-year-old Matthew Smith, 26-year-old Cody Risk, 60-year-old Parker Waldridge and 55-year-old Roger Cunningham.
An initial report released by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission claims that there was an uncontrolled release of gas that caught fire. It also states that an employee attempted to shut down the well, but could not.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration will lead its own investigation into the explosion, and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board announced that it will launch its own investigation.