Five months after a house explosion in Firestone, Colorado killed two people and seriously injured another, state regulators have published a schedule for the revision of pipeline standards that begins with the first of two stakeholder meetings today and concludes with public hearings on December 11 and 12.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper ordered a three-month review of the state’s entire pipeline system after the explosion “to ensure that what happened to the Martinez and Irwin families never happens again.”
Firestone House Explosion
Erin Martinez was seriously injured and her husband Mark and brother, Joesph Irwin, were killed in a house explosion in the Oak Meadows subdivision of Firestone on April 17.
Investigators determined that a gas leak from a nearby pipeline was the source of the explosion. A set of flow lines had been abandoned when the tank battery was moved prior to the development of the subdivision, but only one of them was disconnected and capped. Gas was still flowing through the other line, which terminated six feet away from the foundation of the Martinez home.
Mark and Joseph were working on a hot water heater in the basement of the recently constructed home when the explosion occurred killing both of them and engulfing what remained of the home in an inferno. Erin, who was pinned beneath the rubble, was rescued by quick-thinking construction crew working nearby who used a forklift to lift the debris and pull her to safety. She suffered serious burns and other injuries
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation operates the well and roughly 3,000 other older, vertical wells in northeastern Colorado. After the explosion, the company temporarily shut them all down while testing was conducted.
The pipeline revisions stakeholders are discussing today will include improvements that can be made in design, testing and the process of permanently shutting down flow lines.