Authorities on scene of explosion at Grayville oil drilling comp - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Explosion erupts at Grayville oil drilling company

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Source: Grayville resident Source: Grayville resident
Source: Eric Glover Source: Eric Glover

An explosion erupted at a Grayville, IL oil drilling company Saturday afternoon.

Authorities say the explosion happened Goff and Pruitt Headquarters in the 400 block of S Main St.  around 1:00 p.m.

White County Sheriff Doug Maeier says the two men who were injured in that explosion were Tony Berger and Larry Perry, both of Grayville.

14 News spoke to one man who says he knows the victims, and knows the details of what happened.

"It was a big explosion. My buddies in Griffin saw the cloud from Griffin," said Terry Cox, who lives nearby.

The thick, black smoke could be seen for miles after the explosion. Terry Cox lives just yards away from where propane and oxy-acetylene tanks ignited and blew up Goff and Pruitt Drilling headquarters.

He says he and his family saw what happened.

"My uncle John and my cousin were standing over there, and they filled me in on exactly what happened. Tony and a guy named Larry were in there cutting up a truck, and they took a break, went to go have a drink of coffee, come back out, and it was on fire. I guess, the cutting torch blew up and I guess, Larry got burned real bad. Tony, the way I understand, Tony drug him out," Cox said.

Fire officials say Berger was taken to Deaconess Hospital with minor burn injuries and was discharged on Sunday.

But Perry was flown to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis to be treated for serious burns. He's listed in critical condition.

"There was oxy-acetylene bottles, propane bottles, etc. Right now, the fire is still under investigation, as to what caused it," said Rob Spencer, the Little Wabash Fire Chief. 

"I guess, an acetylene bottle is laying across the road over there. Tony's arms got burned up real bad from pulling Larry out. God bless old Tony, buddy. Keep them in your prayers," Cox said.

Fire chief Rob Spencer says one of the acetylene bottles was blasted into the air and landed 30 yards away on a residential property. However, he says there haven't been any reports of damage to homes in that area.

We will keep you updated.

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