Explosion Injures 2 at Oklahoma Trucking Company

By KEN MILLER | August 13, 2012

An explosion at an Elk City trucking company sent thick, black smoke billowing into the skies in southwest Oklahoma on Saturday and left two employees injured.

Beckham County Emergency Management Director Lonnie Risenhoover said it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the blast at Hodges Trucking Company, LLC, other than there was some kind of spark. He said investigators would need to interview the two people working when the explosion happened.

The workers, whose names were not released, were taken to hospitals. Risenhoover said one was flown to Oklahoma City, while the other was treated and released at an Elk City hospital. He did not know their conditions.

The explosion caused a fire, which firefighters had under control, Risenhoover said. He said firefighters remained on the scene Saturday afternoon to make sure it did not reignite.

Hodges Trucking is an affiliate of Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy, according to the company’s website, which said it provides trucking, cranes and maintenance services for the oilfield industry.

Chesapeake issued a statement Saturday saying the blast occurred about 9 a.m. and the cause of the explosion was under investigation.

“At this time, local fire officials have indicated that the fire is controlled and contained on site, and they will continue to monitor the fire while it burns itself out,” according to the statement.

A phone call to Hodges Trucking rang unanswered Saturday.

Larissa Graham, a reporter with The Elk City Daily News, said the explosion could be felt at the newspaper office, about three miles “as the crow flies” from the site of the explosion.

Roads were closed within about a one mile radius of the company and about 100 homes and businesses within the area were evacuated as a precaution. Residents were allowed to return Saturday afternoon, Risenhoover said.

An Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman said she was aware of the explosion but said state assistance had not been requested.

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