Back-To-Back Deadly Oil & Gas Explosions in Colorado Communities


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❝ An Anadarko oil tank battery exploded in flames on Thursday afternoon, killing one worker and injuring three more, just 3.5 miles from the site of a deadly home explosion in Firestone, Colo., that killed two last month…

On the same day, state officials confirmed that two pockets of methane gas were discovered in the Oak Meadows community, in Firestone. Todd Hartman, spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) noted that the elevated readings on the left side of the image below were likely related to the existence of a tank battery and so not necessarily abnormal. The second pocket of gas was located underneath Oak Meadows Boulevard. According to the DNR, a preliminary investigation indicates that a flowline heading towards that road may have been cut when a sewer was installed there.

❝ Earlier this month, Governor John Hickenlooper ordered a statewide review of all oil and gas operations following the Firestone home explosion. The explosion was traced to an uncapped flowline from a newly activated gas well, both owned by Anadarko. The line was buried seven feet underground but was accidentally severed near the home’s basement. It leaked odorless gas that exploded, killing homeowner Mark Martinez and his brother-in-law Joey Irwin, both 42.

❝ Oil and gas producers in the state faced a deadline of May 30 to complete inspections and a deadline of June 30 to fix any problems found. In the meantime, about a hundred homeowners in the Oak Meadows neighborhood have filed suit against the owner of the well, Anadarko Petroleum, the past owner of the well, Noble Energy, as well as the home builders and developers.

❝ For years anti-oil and gas activists have been clamoring for greater distances between homes and oil and gas activity. In 2013, Colorado increased setbacks for new wells to 500 feet. But there are no statewide regulations regarding what is known as “reverse setbacks,” the distance that new homes must be built from older wells.

Anyone think people are more important than profits? Get in the way of serious money-making natural resources and you will learn about eminent domain faster than a bolt of lightning. Or a natural gas explosion.