• 82°

Oil well fire burns 1

Weather may have been a factor in a Saturday fire at a Brewton oil well that left one man suffering life-threatening burns.
Chief Deputy Mike Lambert with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said the man, whose identity was not released, was working at a work over ring on Wolflog Road around 9 a.m. Saturday.
“When the call came out, it was for a fire at the rig,” Lambert said. “When emergency personnel arrived, they not only had to save the man, but then also fight the fire. Departments from Escambia County, Alabama and Florida, did a commendable job getting things done.
“Last report we had was that the man was burned over nearly 70 percent of his body,” he said. “He was life flighted to Sacred Heart Hospital and then sent to the burn unit in Mobile.”
Lambert said the incident remains under investigation by the state oil and gas board.
“There was severe lightning in the area, and something ignited a large tank that contained oil,” he said of the incident. “We’re not sure what happened at this point, and it remains under investigation.”
Throughout other parts of the area Saturday, severe winds, lightning and rains caused minor damage.
On Monday, severe weather once again moved through the area. This time, a lightning strike shut down the Brewton Municipal Airport just after 1 p.m.
Crews immediately began work patching the four-foot gouge in the runway as the rain pounded down. Luckily, a U.S. Navy member witnessed the strike and was able to notify officials immediately, said BMA employee Micha McCollough.
“The Navy guys were about 50 yards away,” he said. “They said it was a huge hole, and when I got out there and saw it, they were right.”