Drilling explosion injures three

Posted June 21, 2022 at 3:05 pm



An explosion of hydrogen sulfide gas or H2S gas ignited in Clinton County just off Hwy. 1076 just before 11 a.m. on Thursday morning, June 16, on Harold Luttrell’s property.

According to EMS Director Lucas Abner, three individuals were flown to Vanderbilt Hospital, but names or conditions couldn’t be released.

Abner said the call came in to dispatch around 10:50 a.m. and firefighters were on scene until 9:10 the following day.

Albany Fire Chief Robert Roeper said reports from an eyewitness standing at Shell in Albany saw a mushroom cloud go up in the air at the time of the initial explosion.

Roeper explained the scenario from the witnesses who were on the scene and once the gas was air born, the crew on the oil rig tried to move a vehicle away from the rig. When the vehicle was started, it caused a spark and ignited the well where the H2S gas was being released.

“When H2S gas comes in contact with a diesel engine, it causes the engine to run wide open,” Roeper said. “Once they tried to start the truck next to the rig, it ignited and caused the explosion. The truck was parked next to the blow pipe.”

Roeper said once his crew found out it was H2S gas, he said the best thing they could do was to back off.

“It was better to let it burn once we got the rig out,” Roeper said. “We are in the process of getting a gas detector, but the oil companies in the area who had dealt with the well before informed us it was H2S gas.”

Not only were Clinton County EMS crews busy, Wayne County EMS and Cumberland County EMS were called to the scene to cover the fire fighters.

“Heat index was 110 degrees that day and with all our gear on it was hot,” Roeper said. “We had our trucks there and two tankers going back and forth. Albany Redi-Mix also came down with their cement trucks full of water. It took everybody. I didn’t know that type of gas was in the area, but local oil companies knew what was in the well.”

Roeper said the well is owned by the land owner and Storm Burchett was hired to clean out the well.

“They just had got started when it exploded,” Roeper said. “They didn’t have the bit two feet in the ground at the time.”

Roeper said a crew outof Eastern Kentucky came and helped get the rig off of the well.

“It all could have went bad in a couple different ways,” Roeper said. “I want to thank the community for helping out by bring water and food out. It was totally appreciated.”