The Texas Railroad Commission is continuing its investigation into the oil tank explosion in Robertson County Wednesday, that sent an oil field worker to Houston’s Hermann Hospital in critical condition.
The preliminary report says the contractor was using a cutting torch to remove bolts from a catwalk on top of the 12,000 gallon tank when it exploded with oil sludge still inside.
The report goes on to say the man was wearing a safety harness at the time of the blast. The safety line pulled him back toward the tank slamming him face first into the side of the hot steel wall. After dangling unconscious in his harness for a few seconds, the fire burned through a strap and the man fell to the ground. The fall allowed witnesses to pull the man to safety.
The well’s owner, Tom Finaly, who is president of Finaly Resources LLC in California, said he was at the site Wednesday overseeing two crews, one hired to plug the well with cement and the other, Franklin based J-Bar Services, hired to dismantle and remove the storage tanks.
The oilfield blast could be felt and heard for miles and the heavy black smoke filled the clear blue skies for most of Wednesday afternoon.