Oil Explosion Kills Three, Injures One in Mississippi

An explosion Monday at an oil field in central Mississippi killed three workers and injured another, authorities said.

The workers were on a catwalk connecting four storage tanks at the time of the explosion, said Gary Wray, one of the owners of Partridge-Raleigh Inc., which owns the 280-acre oil field.

Two died in the blast and a third was pronounced dead at Magee Hospital, said spokeswoman Althea Crumpton. A fourth worker whose condition was not immediately released was being treated, she said.

The Stringer Oil Field Services employees were preparing the tank to receive oil from a new pump they had installed on a well, Wray said.

One of the workers was using a welding torch on a tank, said Lea Stokes, spokeswoman for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

"This is the worst feeling in my life," Wray said. "I know we'll have to pick up the pieces, but right now all my thoughts are with the families. All this other stuff don't matter."

Officials from the state Oil and Gas Board and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality were called to the scene to help with the investigation.