A Karnes County fire broke out Thursday September 22, 2011, during maintenence of a 60 year old producing well operated by Amerril Energy. The fire was first reported as a rig explosion, but as details emerged it was evident the fire was started during a hot oil treatment of an existing well by Texas Hot Oilers out of Giddings. Hot oil treatments are used to clear paraffins out of a well. The paraffins (wax) can hinder production flows or block rod pumps from operating effectively. It has been reported the oil backed up and caught fire where propane was being used as the heat source. Flames stretched five to six stories into the air shortly after the explosion. Two members of the crew were taken to the hospital and one has already been released. The other is expected to make a full recovery.
“When I walked out of the courthouse in Karnes City, I could see the black smoke, and that’s a good 16 to 17 miles away,” said Karnes County Sheriff David Jalufka.
The sheriff and firefighters from two different jurisdictions responded, as the smoke was carried by 50-foot flames atop an oil well of FM 887 and County Road 229.