Colorado oil tank blast kills worker, spurs safety questions
The Associated Press
DENVER — An oil tank explosion in northern Colorado killed a worker and burned three others, shooting up flames just miles away from an unrelated gas blast last month and prompting fresh questions about safety in one of Colorado’s largest industries — oil and gas extraction.
The fire flared Thursday when the workers completed upgrades to an oil tank battery, which is a collection of tanks that receive crude oil production from a well.
Anadarko Petroleum Co. said the facility in Mead, about 40 miles north of Denver, was not in service and the fire was under investigation.
The company also owns a well connected to a home explosion that killed two people in Firestone, a city a few miles from Mead. The April 17 blast was traced to a leaky well.
Anadarko said Thursday that it will permanently shut down the Firestone well and two others in the neighborhood. The pipeline was thought to be out of service, but investigators say it was still connected to a well near the home.
The Sierra Club called Friday for Anadarko to shutter all of its operations while state and federal authorities conduct a comprehensive review. The company did not respond.
Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper said Friday that it’s too soon for the state to take any action in response to the most recent explosion.
“I haven’t heard any details yet. So let’s see what happened first,” he told The Associated Press.
Two Colorado Democratic lawmakers called on Anadarko to cooperate with state investigators to ensure it does not happen again. State Rep. Mike Foote said the industry and government “have an obligation to treat these incidents not as isolated or freak accidents.”
A third safety accident related to the energy industry happened Thursday in northeast Colorado, near the Nebraska border. A leak of natural gas was discovered from an underground storage facility.
The leak occurred in a well that injects and withdraws gas from the facility owned by East Cheyenne Gas Storage. Logan County called all residents who live within 2 miles of the well and urged them to evacuate.
There were no injuries from the storage-tank leak.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Glenwood Springs is seeing more bear conflicts than any other area in the Roaring Fork Valley. “Glenwood is probably the busiest area from Vail to Aspen for bears. I don’t exactly know why,” said one Colorado Parks and Wildlife game warden. “It’s usually Aspen — they’re usually the busiest, but for this year it seems to be Glenwood.”