Four injured in gas well fire near Bickleton

BICKLETON — Four men were hospitalized early today with injuries from a flash fire at an exploratory natural gas well in central Washington.

The fire occurred shortly after 2:30 a.m. at the Delta Petroleum Corp. well near Bickleton, about 40 miles southeast of Yakima. The fire was “presumably” caused by natural gas and burned itself out fairly quickly, company spokesman Carl Lakey said.

Two workers were transferred from Sunnyside Community Hospital to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center in critical condition, Sunnyside spokesman Tom Lathen said.

A third worker was transferred to Harborview from Kadlec Medical Center in stable condition with burns to the face and hands. The fourth injured worker was in surgery for a leg fracture, said Kelly Harper, Kadlec spokeswoman.

Their names were not released.

All four men work for companies contracted by Delta Petroleum to aid in drilling the oil and gas company’s first exploratory well in the Columbia River basin. Delta has drilling interests on 508,000 acres in southeast Washington and northeast Oregon.

Three of the workers are employed by DHS Drilling Co. of Casper, Wyo. The fourth works for Air Drilling Associates Inc. of Aztec, N.M.

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Information from: Yakima Herald-Republic, http://www.yakima-herald.com

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