Man killed at Texas oilfield site

A man working at an oilfield site in the town of Moulton in south Texas was killed in an explosion during a welding accident this week.

Moulton police chief Mark Pritchard identified the victim as 45-year-old Jose Torres. He was working at a site operated by GreenHunter Resources in Lavaca County in the Eagle Ford shale.

Torres was inside a tanker trailer on Tuesday holding down a piece of metal for a welder outside the trailer. They were attempting to repair a pinhole leak in the tank, Pritchard said.

"Whatever was inside, the heat and that stuff didn't agree and it blew him out of the tank," Pritchard said.

The blast was described by witnesses as a "fireball" and a "massive explosion". Torres was shot into the air and landed 75 feet away from the trailer. His fire retardant clothing had "completely disintegrated", Pritchard said.

"All that was left was basically shreds of blue jeans," he said. Torres was pronounced dead at the scene.

There were no other injuries or damage reported.

Police ruled it an accidental death. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration wrapped up the on-site investigation on Thursday.

GreenHunter had a "safety team" investigating the incident as well, Pritchard said.

US oil and gas deaths have been on the rise since 2009 and this year has been especially deadly. The US Department of Labour has called the trend "unacceptable".

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