At about 7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 4, there was an explosion at a Chesapeake Energy oil well on County Road 403 near Lake Somerville. The explosion sent debris into the middle of Park Road 57, and a Ford F-150 hit the debris and was sent flying into the air. The driver, a 68-year-old woman, was flown to a local hospital for treatment. The passenger, a 76-year-old man, was reportedly uninjured.
Emergency crews responded to the well explosion and resulting fires quickly, containing the scene. The cause of the explosion has yet to be determined, with an investigation underway.
Another incident was reported at about 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 5 at another Chesapeake Energy wellsite on County Road 340 near Cooks Point. Two oil tanks caught fire and were fully engulfed when firefighters arrived at the scene. Fortunately, they were able to extinguish the fires within less than 30 minutes, and no injuries were reported.
This is far from the first time that oil wells owned by Chesapeake Energy have made the news recently. At the end of January 2020, we reported on a deadly explosion that claimed 3 workers' lives. The company now faces tens of thousands of dollars in fines, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). The victims’ families have also filed suit against Chesapeake Energy for failing to properly manage the worksite.
When oil and gas companies do not take proper measures to maintain safety standards, disasters like the ones discussed here will happen. Workers and anyone in the vicinity of a negligently operated oil well will be in danger of suffering serious harm. In Friday’s accident, it was an innocent motorist who paid the price.
As oilfield accident attorneys, we at Arnold & Itkin are committed to holding at-fault parties accountable for putting people in danger. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by these incidents, and we will be watching closely for further developments. In our experience, there is always a reason behind “accidents” like these.