Oil Tank Explosion Investigation


The CSB is an independent federal agency that investigates chemical accidents. The CSB is reviewing the events on April 26, 2010 in which a young woman died when an oil tank exploded at an oil and gas production site in New London.

Such oil site explosions are an ongoing concern to the CSB.  We are currently examining a fatal explosion that occurred at an oil site in Weleetka, OK, April 14, 2010.  A 21-year-old member of the public was killed. Just one day before the Weleetka explosion, the CSB held a news conference and public meeting in Hattiesburg, Mississippi to urge the oil production industry, state legislatures and federal and state regulators to secure the oil sites and put up warning signs because so many young people have been killed at oil site explosions over the years. (For the news release and other information see www.csb.gov.)

The CSB released a safety video called "No Place to Hang Out: The Danger of Oil Sites" .  It focuses on the deaths of two teenagers in an explosion at an oil site in Carnes, Mississippi, near Hattiesburg, on October 31, 2009.  Parents of victims Wade White and Devon Byrd appear in the video, with several classmates and friends affected by the tragedy, as well as local officials and an industrial fire expert.

The purpose of the video is to educate teenagers of the danger, and to serve as a call for the sites to be secured as many do not have warning signs, fences or gates, and teenagers can easily access the sites, not knowing of the hazards. Working with school officials from Forrest County, MS, to develop a lesson plan, the CSB announced it would launch a national educational effort to warn teenagers about the danger associated with socializing at potentially hazardous oil sites.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit our website, www.csb.gov.