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2 men injured in fire

St. Joseph — Two men were transported by air after receiving serious burns at the site of a land-based oilrig fire in Tensas Parish Wednesday morning.

Eddie Roberts, the father-in-law of one of the victims, Tony LaPrairie, said Wednesday evening both men were transported to a burn unit in Augusta, Ga.

The other victim was Wesley “P.W.” Brown, Roberts said.

While Roberts did not know Brown’s condition, he said LaPrairie had second-degree burns across 90 percent of his body.

“They are not out of the woods yet; it is a very bad deal,” Roberts said.

Tensas Parish Sheriff Rickey Jones said emergency responders went to the scene of the fire at 9 a.m. Wednesday. The rig was located in the Buckhorn state game management area off of Louisiana 128 West outside of St. Joseph.

Jones said crews were capping the well there when gas bubbles apparently came up and ignited a capper truck that was backed up to the well and caught the well’s mud vat on fire.

The two men injured in the fire were treated on the scene before being flown to University Medical Center in Jackson.

The truck was destroyed in the fire, and Jones said the mud vat had some oil in it, which burned until it was gone.

“It was self-contained, so everything is taken care of right now,” Jones said.

The sheriff said the well is owned by Verona Energy and was being operated by Cress Oilfield Services.

The Louisiana State Police’s hazardous materials unit will respond to the scene today, Jones said, and first responders included the Tensas Parish Fire District, Northeast Louisiana Ambulance Services, the Tensas Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

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