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Second Victim Found; Well to be Capped

July 18, 1996

DIME BOX, Texas (AP) _ Gas well firefighters pulled tangled metal and a second body from an exploded natural gas rig on Thursday as they prepared to cap a blazing oilwell that has lit up the sky for five days.

J.E. Traweek Jr. was one of two men on the platform of the WCS Oil & Gas Co. rig Saturday when it erupted in a series of three explosions, creating a ball of fire nearly 40 feet in the air in this tranquil Central Texas prairie town.

The body of Steve Patridge of Lafayette, La., was recovered Sunday. The cause of the explosion has not been determined.

As the fire continued to burn at 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, Joe Bowden’s Wild Well Control Inc., prepared to douse the flame with high-powered water hoses or, failing that, explosions that would suck out the oxygen feeding the flames.

Nearly a dozen workers near the rig when it exploded escaped injury. The two victims were the only ones on the rig’s platform.