msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 9/20/2011 4:23:36 AM ET 2011-09-20T08:23:36

An oil rig exploded in Oklahoma late Monday, authorities said.

Beth Massey of the Blaine County Sheriff's Department said a perimeter was established around the site near Watonga, about 80 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.

KOCO-TV reported that the blast occurred at a drilling rig at around 10 p.m. local time.

"The flames were probably 100-feet tall," witness Matt Miller told KOCO. "Periodically, there were explosions with huge flashes."

Witness Maria Slay told The Oklahoman that she heard four or five explosions.

About a dozen workers were evacuated following a mechanical warning, KOCO reported. No injuries were immediately reported.

Watonga Assistant Fire Chief Verlen Bills told The Oklahoman that the cause of the blaze wasn't known. Several homes within a mile of the rig were evacuated.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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