Oil well explosions under investigation in Effingham County

EFFINGHAM COUNTY — An explosion in a crude oil well was contained in Effingham County, on Sunday evening, a fire department official said on Monday, with some concern that someone caused a second explosion.

There were no injuries or crude oil leaks from the incident, Watson Township Fire Department Chief Matt Kulesza said. The oil well is owned by privately held MDM Energy.

Firefighters got a report of an explosion at 6:47pm. Witnesses saw 80-foot-high flames that could be seen 15 miles away.
Kulesza said there was about 20 barrels of oil in the tank that exploded. Firefighters used a foam attack to blanket the oil and smother the flames.

The Effingham Fire Department brought the MABAS foam trailer to assist, and North Clay firefighters assisted at the scene. Crews used 75 gallons of foam to extinguish the area, and were on scene for about 1-1/2 hours.

Firefighters were paged back out at 9:22pm for a rekindle at the same location. When crews reached the scene, two more tanks were fully involved in flames.

Effingham County Sheriff’s Department was called to the scene as Kulesza said authorities believe someone caused the rekindle. The oil company has security cameras in place; the videos are being reviewed today in an effort to determine a suspect.

31 firefighters assisted at the scene. No one was injured. Firefighters were on the scene about 45 minutes for the rekindle.