World Oilfield Forum
Continental Resources Loses Patterson Rig 179 to Blowout
Evacuations Under Way For People Near Watonga
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WATONGA, Okla. -- A massive fire continues to burn near Watonga after a drilling rig exploded late Monday night.The Blaine County Sheriff's Department said the explosion happened around 10 p.m. Monday at a natural gas site just east of of Watonga.
According to officials with Continental Resources, nearly a dozen workers were at the site drilling for natural gas when they were alerted to a problem. Authorities said workers evacuated the site just minutes before the explosion happened. No one was injured.
Deputies went door-to-door evacuating nearby homes. Blaine County Sheriff Ricky Ainsworth said about 25 homes were evacuated and most of the families are staying with relatives or at a nearby motel.
By 5 a.m. Tuesday, the sheriff's department said most of those families are being allowed to return home."The flames were probably 100-feet tall," said Matt Miller, who witnessed the flames. "Periodically, there were explosions with huge flashes." Miller said the air was thick with debris.
A one mile area around the natural gas site is still shut down. Investigators with the two companies involved, Continental Resources and Patterson Drilling, are at the scene.Officials said it is too early to tell what caused the explosion.
According to a Continental Resources spokesperson all workers escaped safely moments before the explosion-No details on the cause or events leading up to the blowout. Families in the area that were evacuated have been allowed to return to their homes. The fire is expected to burn for days.