SEACLIFF : Oil Worker Is Burned as Torch Sparks Blast

An oil worker was burned Wednesday afternoon when his welding torch sparked a small explosion at a Seacliff oil field, officials said.

The 39-year-old Ojai resident was airlifted to Ventura County Medical Center shortly after the 4:45 p.m. accident on property owned by Vintage Petroleum west of Pacific Coast Highway. Officials declined to give his name.

Workers were repairing a pipe leading to a storage tank and mistakenly believed they had stopped the flow of oil, Ventura County Fire Capt. Kenneth Bigger said.

"When they struck the first welding arc, a minor explosion occurred," Bigger said. "The stuff squirted out."

Bigger said the man sustained second-degree burns on the left side of his upper torso.

"His Levi's were good enough to protect his lower half," Bigger said. "I think he was lucky, ending up with only second-degree burns."

Workers managed to douse the flames quickly and a small amount of oil was spilled, Bigger said.

Vintage Petroleum officials did not return telephone calls.

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