Two of the victims transported to a Lubbock burn center

By JASON WATKINS
Daily Press Editor

ARTESIA — Three men were injured and two had to be airlifted to Lubbock on Friday after suffering burns from an oil well fire that ignited two miles North of U.S. Highway 82 on County Road 220, six miles from Loco Hills.

The names of the victims — employees of Reliable Well Service — have not been released, but Artesia General Hospital confirmed that three men were treated for burns Friday morning, and that two of the men were later transported to University Burn Center in Lubbock.

Loco Hills Volunteer Fire Chief Sonny Hope said the fire apparently started when a hole in the well’s casing (pipe) sprayed oil and gas onto a Reliable Well Service water-pumping or kill truck, which ignited.

Hope said the victims were not on site when his department responded, and the Artesia Fire Department said Friday night that the injured were taken to the AGH emergency room by personal vehicle.

Hope was unsure how long the fire burned, but termed the blaze “significant,” as he could see smoke from Artesia as he was en route to the accident. Another witness claimed to have seen “tall” flames from about five miles away.

The Daily Press contacted Willie Morrison, owner of Reliable Well Service, Saturday evening, but he declined comment, confirming only that there was an “accident.”