Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Massive Gas Explosion Rocks Area North of Greeley

"The massive explosion at an oil/gas site near Greeley should be a wake-up call about the dangers of fracking within our residential neighborhoods and close to our schools. Numerous large scale sites have been approved in densely populated areas of Greeley (i.e. Kelly Farms and Fox Run Subdivisions). Likewise, Mineral Resources Inc. has applications for a massive site east of the University and another in close proximity to Frontier Academy on 29th street. Why is Greeley so willing to endanger our health and risk a catastrophic event like this in our backyards?" Karen Janata, in a letter to the Editor, and the Greeley City Council
Excerpt from the Greeley Tribune article:

“We see the source as either being static electricity or it appears someone may have parked their truck too close to the tank..” Duane Zavadil, senior vice president of environmental health and safety, regulatory and governmental affairs for Bill Barrett said. “At end of day, the flammable vapors were present as a consequence of oil accumulation.”

Static electricity and possibly a parking violation may be the culprits in a massive explosion and fire at an oil and gas drilling site north of Greeley. Neighbors were rocked out of their beds around 11:20 p.m. Monday [March 3], when an explosion shook their doors. The subsequent fire could be seen for miles.

“We were getting ready for bed and the whole house shook,” said Liz Hergert, a resident in the area. Her husband drove up the road a bit and snapped several pictures of the fire, which was offset from the drilling site at some storage tanks. The fire occurred at a Bill Barrett Corp. drilling site a couple of miles west of Lucerne in the area of Weld County roads 27 and 70.

Two workers received minor injuries and were treated on scene... There was no resulting damage to neighboring property, and the storage tanks held up well, Duane Zavadil said.

“It was down in a hole, at a lower elevation, so any nearby houses were up and over a hill. Thankfully, we didn’t have to really worry about that.” ~ Eaton Fire Capt. Michael Lenderink. .

Zavadil said the incident is being investigated so officials can learn from it and prevent a second occurrence. “Our management will tell you ... there is no such thing as an accident,” Zavadil said. “Ultimately, we’d consider it something that is mitigable, that we’re not going to just simply say it was a freak spark, or someone parked too close. There’s something to be learned from this circumstance that we’ll be reacting to.” He added, “We don’t ascribe any accident to bad luck. They’re all things we think we can improve on and learn from.”

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