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One dead, another injured in oil tank blast

Media relations - Newfield Exploration

Authorities in the Uintah Basin are working with federal investigators to determine what caused an explosion of an oil tank Tuesday evening which killed one man and injured another. The blast occurred just after 8:30 Tuesday night next to a crude oil well near Myton – about  20 miles south of Roosevelt. 

Uintah County Sheriff’s spokesman Brian Fletcher said the man who died was a contract welder for the energy company, Newfield Exploration. He says the welder, 28-year-old Tyson Boren of Neola Utah, and Newfield employee, Rusty Harris, were doing routine maintenance on the 400-barrell holding tank when it exploded.

Newfield Exploration spokesman Keith Schmidt said an investigation is underway.

“The cause of the fire is being determined at this point,” he said. “There will be a full investigation. Newfield has notified all appropriate agencies. There is and has been no danger to the community – this is a rural area. Our immediate priorities are to protect the safety of all responders and workers at the scene (and) to protect the public and the environment.”

Emergency crews from Uintah and Duchesne counties responded, and Schmidt said as of Wednesday afternoon, the scene is stable.

“This is not an oil well fire," he added, "this is a fire of equipment at an oil well location. So in other words, there is no fire in the well.”

He confirmed a total of three individuals were involved in the incident. No other injuries or damage was reported.

“One Newfield employee has been taken to the hospital, we understand he’s in fair condition and hopefully will be released today," said Schmidt. "One contract employer was assessed at the scene and was released. EMS personnel at the scene confirmed there was one fatality of a contractor employee.”

Newfield began work in the Monument Butte in Eastern Utah area in 2004.