WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – An accident at a fracking site killed one worker and injured two in Weld County on Thursday.
Matthew Smith, 36, of Brighton, died when a high-pressure water valve that had frozen overnight ruptured with extreme force.
Grant Casey, 28, of Commerce City, is in good condition at Medical Center of the Rockies. Thomas Sedlmayr, 48, of Castle Rock, is in serious condition at Denver Health Medical Center.
The fracking site is located at Highway 66 and Weld County Road 9½ east of Interstate 25.
The men were working on a high pressure water value that had frozen overnight at 9:30 a.m. when the accident happened.
They were attempting to thaw the line when it ruptured with a force between 3500 and 4500 psi.
“That’s a high amount of fluid that’s coming out of that small area of that pipe and generally when that hits someone, it’s going to cause injury,” Weld County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sean Standridge said.
Mountain View Fire Rescue spokeswoman Amy Tallent said the workers were near the line.
Temperatures in the area at that time were climbing to above zero after hovering in the minus-10 to minus-15 degree range overnight.
The fracking site is an Anadarko leased property. The three men involved in the accident were working for Halliburton, a contractor that handles fracking operations.
Anadarko shut down work on all oil and gas pads in the area after the accident.
“This tragic accident, associated injuries and contractor’s loss of life has left us all shaken and heartbroken. We have suspended all completions activities in the area and will cooperate fully with the authorities in their review,” Anadarko said in a statement.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our employees’ loved ones,” Halliburton said in a statement.
OSHA began investigating the accident Thursday morning. OSHA said it’s the first fracking death and injuries the organization has investigated in years.
“We’re involved in interviewing employees, reviewing programs and really determining what the causal factors of the accident were,” Herb Gibson from OSHA said.