Texas Oil Rig Explosion: Three Family Members Killed, Cause Unknown

An oil rig explosion in Upton County, Texas, has killed three family members. As of right now, authorities are not sure what caused the explosion, but an investigation is underway.

According to CBS 7, the explosion happened at around 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday in Upton County. The three men who were killed in the oil rig explosion have been identified as Arturo Martinez Jr., Arturo Martinez Sr., and Rojelio Salgado. All three of them were family members from the small town of Andrews, Texas, which is located almost two hours northwest of where the oil rig explosion took place.

The three men were working for independent contractor Mason Well Services, a pulling unit company based in Odessa, Texas. The well in which the men were working was owned by Parsley Energy, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram. Prior to Tuesday’s explosion, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had cited and fined Mason Well Services in February of 2014 for a violation related to “flammable and combustible liquids,” but the report doesn’t go into full detail on the incident.

Cameron Villanueva, the son-in-law of Martinez Jr., said the three family members had just recently started working for the company before Tuesday’s oil rig explosion.

“They were excited to take over the rig for Mason. I talked to Junior on Sunday, and he was excited to work. They were looking for work and they got it, and then this happened.”

Villanueva added that his entire family, including himself, has been involved in the oil industry. He is currently employed by Schlumberger, but the company has given him some time off in the wake of the accident.

“I am nervous about going back out.”

But Villanueva noted that he doesn’t want to take too much time off from work.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea to just sit around and dwell on [the accident]. I think it’d just be better to be back at work and busy.”

Victoria Garcia, the sister-in-law of Martinez Jr., spoke highly of the three men killed in the oil rig explosion.

“They were energetic, real fun. My brother-in-law, he was always with his grandkids. He has five grandkids, three daughters, [and] his wife. Big family, we were all one big loving family.”

Upton County Sheriff’s investigator Dusty Kilgore told NewsWest 9 that the cause of the explosion is currently unknown.

“Right now, everything is in the preliminary stages. We don’t know exactly what happened. We don’t know what caused the explosion.”

In addition, there was a fourth person at the site of the oil rig explosion. His name has not been released, but authorities did tell NewsWest 9 that he was not injured.

[Image via NewsWest 9]