Platform fires injues 4

Posted: Friday, April 19, 2002

A fire on Unocal's King Salmon oil and gas platform resulted in injuries to four workers Saturday afternoon. Four people were transported to Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna.

One man had to be airlifted from the platform with severe burns. The other victims were taken to Nikiski and transported by ambulance to the hospital.

The fire started during a routine workover of one of the platform's natural gas wells, according to Kevin Tabler, a spokesperson for Unocal, which owns the platform. Apparently, during the change out of an Electrical Submersible Pump, gas spilled on to the rig floor, then was ignited by an unknown source.

Troopers and officials at Unocal notified the Coast Guard about the fire around 3:40 p.m., according to Greg Wilkinson of the Alaska State Troopers.

The well was immediately shut down, as per of Unocal's blowout prevention system. Platform workers battled the blaze for approximately 45 minutes before the flames were extinguished. The blazed forced the platform to be partially evacuated, according to Tabler.

"We evacuated all nonessential personnel as a precautionary measure," Tabler said.

See Sunday's edition for full story.

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