An oil field explosion that claimed the lives of five oil-field workers has led to a wrongful death lawsuit being filed by a widow against the drilling company and the owner of the well, and it is likely that more claims of negligence will follow.
The oil field explosion took place in Quinton, Oklahoma last January. Called the “deadliest oilfield disaster” since the Deepwater Horizon blowout and explosion of 2010, the incident has been blamed on an uncontrolled release of natural gas that ignited. The resulting blast killed 60-year-old Parker Waldridge and four of his colleagues. According to the lawsuit, “Not unlike the Deepwater Horizon disaster, this tragedy was preventable had safety been properly managed and controlled during these rotary drilling operations.”
Experts Say Oil Field Explosion Was Preventable
According to experts in oil field explosions, the gas rig involved in the Quinton accident was equipped with three separate blowout preventers, which were not put into use despite the fact that there were clear signs that an uncontrolled flow was about to occur. Once the gas started escaping, it was too late to stop it, as was evidenced by “several failed attempts.” The suit names both Red Mountain Operating and Patterson Drilling as defendants, accusing both of failing to provide appropriate training, instruction or supervision of employees. The negligence lawsuit also cites the drilling company’s history of workplace fatalities and safety violations and criticizes Red Mountain for its selection of the company.
It is unknown whether the families of 55-year-old Roger Cunningham, 35-year-old Josh Ray, 26-year-old Cody Risk, or 29-year-old Matt Smith plan to follow Mrs. Waldridge’s example and file their own lawsuits. The five men were all in the immediate vicinity of the gas escape, which sent a 50-foot pillar of flame into the air and consumed the entire rig. The heat was too hot and the blast too violent for any rescue to be attempted.