Texas oil explosion troubles U.S. official

Jan. 31, 2013 at 8:54 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- A U.S. regulator said it was concerned that two people were injured critically while standing on an unattended oil and gas production facility in Texas.

Two 24-year-old men were injured Tuesday near Van, Texas, when an oil storage tank they were standing on exploded while they were smoking, Fort Worth, Texas, broadcaster KTVT-TV reported.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board's Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said he was deeply concerned by the accident.

"It is the CSB's view that states should take proper precautions to ensure that oil and gas production sites are secured properly, with fencing, gates and warning signs to prevent access by teenagers and young adults who are attracted to the sites as secluded places at which to socialize," he said in a statement.

Texas regulators last year declined to impose security measures at oil tank storage sites despite recommendations made by the CSB. The state argued the number of accidents wasn't high enough to warrant new safety measures.

Moure-Eraso called on Railroad Commission of Texas, an energy regulator, to take the steps needed to prevent accidents like Tuesday's incident from recurring.

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