The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is deploying a team to investigate a fiery oil well blowout Jan. 30 in central Texas that, to date, has left three people dead, the agency announced Wednesday.
The board's action comes after the latest fatality, identified as Brian Maldonado, 25, of San Diego, Texas, who died Saturday at the Dell Seton Medical Center in Austin where he underwent surgery after the blast.
Another yet unidentified worker injured in the fire died Thursday. The first victim, Wendell Beddingfield of Tyler, died at the scene.
The CSB is an independent, non-regulatory federal agency that conducts independent investigations into major industrial accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
At present, the agency is conducting investigations into TPC Group terminal fire in Port Neches, Texas, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery fire in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the Intercontinental Terminal Company tank fire in Deer Park, Texas, among others.
Chesapeake Energy, owners of the well site, identified all the casualties as contractors.
A blowout is an uncontrolled release of crude oil or natural gas from oil or gas well after pressure control systems have failed. The flammable material can ignite into an intense fire.