Two men injured in oil field maintenance plant explosion in Nixon

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

May 16, 2012 at 12:16 a.m.
Updated May 17, 2012 at 12:17 a.m.

Two men working in a fracking yard were injured Wednesday after an early morning explosion that rocked the town of Nixon.

The explosion occurred about 2:30 a.m. as the men were working on a fracking tank at Vann Energy Services maintenance plant in the 100 block of West 8th Avenue, said Nixon Police Chief Chris Almaguer.

The men, whose names and conditions were not available, were flown by helicopter to San Antonio Military Medical Center.

The tanks are used in the oil field as part of the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process.

Police evacuated several homes in the area as a safety precaution, Almaguer said.

The investigation is continuing as to what caused the explosion that required the Nixon, Smiley, Stockdale and Belmont fire departments to assist in extinguishing the blaze.

Though the cause of the explosion is unknown, this is not the first time the company has had problems.

Company officials declined to talk about the explosion.

The Nixon-based company, which employs about 20 people, was cited for 17 "serious" violations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after the conclusion of an inspection in February, according to an OSHA news release. The violations resulted in proposed fines of about $70,200.

A serious violation means the violation has a substantial probability to result in death or serious injury, according to the news release.

OSHA received complaints from employees who were required to enter oil field hydraulic fracturing tanks for cleaning without receiving precautions about atmospheric hazards. The company received other health violations, as well as safety violations, including lighting, fans and other electrical equipment, according to the news release.



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