One killed in Wayne County oil tank explosion

Updated: Sep. 20, 2019 at 11:45 AM CDT
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WAYNE COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - One person was killed when two oil storage tanks exploded Friday morning in Wayne County, according to Sheriff Jody Ashley.

Capt. Lance Chancellor, with Powers Fire and Rescue, said the explosion was reported at 8:22 a.m. at an oil operating site near the intersection of Fred West Road and Gatlin Road.

Chancellor said the site is run by Tellus Operating Group, a Ridgeland-based company that operates hundreds of oil and gas wells in Louisiana and Mississippi, according to the company’s website.

Chancellor said there were five workers at the site when the tanks exploded, including two TOG subcontractors.

Wayne County Coroner David Pugh said Randy Ducksworth Sr., 59, was killed in the blast. Chancellor said Ducksworth was one of the TOG subcontractors working at the site.

Once firefighters arrived on the scene, it took them about 30 minutes to extinguish flames that sparked during the explosion. Chancellor said the fire also spread to a nearby wooded area.

The investigation into what caused the explosion is ongoing. Clarke Thomas, Health, Safety and Environmental Compliance Manager with TOG, said the company will cooperate fully as the investigation moves forward.

“We just want to express our condolences to the family of the subcontractor that was unfortunately affected today,” Thomas said. “Tellus will be cooperating fully with any ongoing investigation.”

Several agencies responded to the emergency situation including the Wayne County Volunteer Fire Department, Wayne County Emergency Management Agency, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Wayne General Hospital, Waynesboro Fire Department, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Mississippi Oil and Gas Board, Jones County Volunteer Fire Council, Powers Fire and Rescue, Wayne County Coroner’s Office, Jones County Emergency Management Agency and EMServ Ambulance Service.

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