HB Oil Derrick Nearly Collapses As People Come to the Rescue

oil derrick

By Chris MacDonald Writer/Photographer HB Ambassador/The Local News Columnist

HUNTINGTON BEACH — A maintenance oil derrick buckled, resulting in the evacuation of nearby residences and loss of power to local Edison customers for 6 hours recently while the derrick was dismantled, according to HB Fire Captain Bob Culhane.

Culhane said crews were doing routine maintenance on the derrick near Walnut and 2nd Street. It was being used to pull the rods out of the well, when the derrick started buckling on one side, resulting in approximately a 45 degree bend about halfway up the 60 foot steel structure.

Two workers were on a platform about eight feet below the buckled section when the incident occurred around 1:33pm, but fortunately, no one was injured in the incident, which drew major media attention from TV, Radio and Newspapers. The operation was immediately stopped and fire crews evacuated 10 apartments and 3 nearby homes to avoid the possibility of injury, should the top of the derrick fall to the ground.

Curious crowds gathered as Southern California Edison cut power to the electrical lines, which were adjacent to the property, resulting in a loss of power to about 42 residential and commercial customers. A crane was brought in to secure the leaning section of the derrick and once secured, the crew began dismantling it. After cutting multiple cables entangled in the rig, gas sampling was conducted to ensure that the well was not emitting any flammable vapors. Once verified, a cutting torch was used by a welder working off a separate lift to cut some of the stops from the top section, allowing the crane operator to pull the top section out of the framework of the base section. The top half was then lowered to the ground.

Residents of the nearby homes were allowed back in around 8:00pm. Edison was able to return power to customers soon afterward. The cause of the failure is being investigated.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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