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This website is maintained by the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a Dallas, Texas law firm representing people across Texas for work injury cases. We have attempted to provide useful information for those harmed by work injuries.

Five Workers Die in a Drilling Rig Explosion in Oklahoma, including a Fort Worth, Texas, Man

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018
Drilling rig capable of both diamond and rever...

Drilling rig capable of both diamond and reverse circulation drilling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Monday, January 22, 2018, a huge blaze followed a violent explosion at a drilling rig in Oklahoma, killing five workers. The drilling rig, which is west of Quinton, Oklahoma, is owned by Patterson-UTI Energy, a company based in Houston, Texas. Rescuers had to wait until the following day to enter the area, due to the intensity of the fire. On Tuesday, the five missing workers were found in the area they are presumed to have been working in, called the “dog house.” Due to the heat that was there, it is believed to be where the fire initially started. The victims were: 35-year-old Josh Ray of Ft. Worth, Texas; 29-year-old Matt Smith of McAlester, Oklahoma; 26-year-old Cody Risk of Wellington, Colorado; 60-year-old Parker Waldridge of Crescent, Oklahoma; and 55-year-old Roger Cunningham of Seminole, Oklahoma. Smith, Risk, and Ray were employed with the Houston company.

Seventeen workers at the site managed to escape the fire. Some were uninjured, some suffered minor injuries, and one was transported to a Tulsa hospital via medical helicopter.

According to the Pittsburg County Sheriff, Chris Morris, the five workers who died were too near the source of the explosion and fire to escape.

The incident occurred at one of the modern rigs owned by Patterson-UTI, the APEX 1500. The rig and virtually all of the equipment collapsed to the ground by midday on Monday, as the blaze continued.

An investigation will be done to determine what caused the deadly workplace explosion. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) will be among those looking into what happened. There will be an inspection. If any safety violations are discovered, Patterson-UTI could face costly penalties.

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