After Fatal Firestone House Explosion, Anadarko Shuts Wells

Investigators of an April 17 house explosion in Firestone, CO that killed two people and severely injured another say a well operated by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation is now part of their probe. The 24-year-old well, located 170 feet from the home, is one of 3,000 older vertical wells in northeastern Colorado that Anadarko has temporarily closed in the wake of the explosion.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) and the Firestone police and fire departments are working together on an investigation. They have not yet released the cause of the blast.

Fatal House Explosion

On the day of the explosion, Mark Martinez and his brother-in-law Joseph (Joey) William Irwin III Irwin  – a plumber with 20 years of experience and a reputation for his attention to detail, were working on a hot water heater in the basement of the newly constructed home on Twilight Avenue. The explosion, which occurred around 4:30 p.m., killed them both and leveled the home pinning Erin Martinez, Mark’s wife and Joey’s sister, as a massive fire swept through the rubble.

A construction crew working in the area, used a forklift to lift a portion of the collapsed house and pulled Erin out. Although she was badly burned, the beloved science and physics teacher at Mountain Range High School’s primary concern was the safety of her children. Erin was airlifted to a trauma center where she remains in critical condition.

The community has rallied to help the families. A GoFundMe raised more than $100,000 in one week.

Anadarko Shuts Wells, Issues Statement

Based in Woodlands, TX, Anadarko is a petroleum and natural gas exploration and production company with U.S. operations in Colorado, Texas, Utah, Wyoming and the Gulf of Mexico; and internationally in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and New Zealand. It’s one of the largest oil and gas producers in Colorado.

Yesterday the company released a statement, that read in part:

“While there is still much that is not yet known regarding the potential contributing factors, Anadarko operates an older vertical well that was drilled by a previous operator in 1993 and is located approximately 200 feet from where the home was recently built. As such, the company has been working cooperatively with fire officials and state regulatory agencies in their investigations since the time of the accident.

While these events remain under active investigation and much remains to be determined, in an abundance of caution, since the company operates more than 3,000 producing vertical wells of the same vintage, it has taken proactive measures to shut in all vertical wells across the counties in northeast Colorado where it operates. The wells will remain shut in until the company’s field personnel can conduct additional inspections and testing of the associated equipment, such as facilities and underground lines associated with each wellhead. Particular focus is being placed on areas where housing and commercial developments are occurring in close proximity to existing infrastructure. The wells will not be restarted until each has undergone and passed these additional inspections. Anadarko currently anticipates the process will take two to four weeks, depending on weather. The wells currently account for total production of about 13,000 net barrels of oil equivalent per day.”

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Fire Consumes Building

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Category: Explosion, Fire and Burn Injuries
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