Two injured in oil and gas well explosion

Missaukee County Sheriff Wil Yancer shows the location of an oil well explosion in Missaukee County on Nov. 26, 2019.

NORWICH TOWNSHIP — Two men were transferred to Flint for their burns after an explosion at an oil well in northeast Missaukee County Tuesday morning.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and the Missaukee County Sheriff’s Office said the explosion happened while oil crews were servicing an oil well.

The crew was cleaning out a wellbore through a process called “hot oiling,‘ said Rick Henderson, a fuel operations manager for EGLE.

“During that process, some fumes came off the tank ... and it flashed,‘ Henderson said.

Three men were standing nearby when the flash fire flared up; two were injured. A 65-year-old man from Kalkaska and a 56-year-old man from Grayling were burned and drove themselves to Munson Hospital of Grayling. They were later transferred to the burn unit in Flint, according to Missaukee County Sheriff Wil Yancer. The third man was not hurt.

Missaukee County deputies responded to the incident, which happened in section one of Norwich Township, around 11:30 a.m. Ambulance and fire crews from both Missaukee and Roscommon counties also responded; the fire was out by about 12:30 p.m., when EGLE employees arrived on the scene, Henderson said.

At last check Tuesday afternoon, EGLE did not believe there was any threat to the public or the environment, though Henderson said the investigation is ongoing and can take “a while.‘

Henderson confirmed that Lambda Energy, a Houston-based company that operates oil and gas wells in Michigan, owns the well where the explosion occurred. Lambda Energy did not return a phone call from the Cadillac News before press time.

Cadillac News