DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission discussed Tuesday’s developments in Firestone house explosion, just hours after investigators said that “fugitive gas” was to blame for the deadly blast.
COGCC Director Matt Lepore said that all operators would re-examine lines to ensure that those lines have integrity.
“What has taken place here is highly unusual and required a confluence of several different events that came to pass,” said Lepore. “This is an unprecedented event. It’s horrible. We will take the steps outlined here to seek to minimize this from happening again. And I think operators will be hyper-vigilant about going forward.”
The April 17 explosion in Firestone killed two people and left another badly burned. The home was 200 feet from a gas well.
“There is no threat to surrounding homes as a result of the incident,” said Frederick-Firestone Fire Protection District Chief Ted Poszywak.
Poszywak said that it was “fugitive gas” from a severed and uncapped line. He also said the proximity of the well to the home did not play a role in the explosion.
“Abandoned flow lines were the source of the leak and the explosion,” said Poszywak.
The abandoned line blamed for the blast was 1-inch in diameter and Lepore said it was often referred to as a “return line.”
“It’s a line that would run between a line head and a tank battery,” said Lepore. “If it was abandoned, it would be disconnected at both ends, should be sealed at both ends and would not be carrying any product. In this case, I think there are unanswered questions about whether the line was disconnected at both ends or perhaps only was disconnected at one end and remained connected to the well head.”
Erin Martinez, a physics and chemistry teacher, survived the deadly explosion at her Firestone home but her husband, Mark, and her brother, Joseph Irwin, were killed in the explosion.
Lepore said there are still questions about whether the line was ever disconnected from the well or who cut the line.
“We don’t have jurisdiction over developers,” said Lepore. “Might there have been rule violations in this sequence of events… Yes, there might have been.”