MEAD, Colo. (CBS4)– Multiple regulatory agencies are investigating, along with Mountain View Fire Rescue, to determine what caused an oil tank battery to explode near Mead Thursday afternoon.
An oil tank battery is a collection of tanks that receive crude oil from a well.
Neighbors all around the tank felt the explosion.
“The shock wave came through and rattled the house,” said Jeff Pugliano, who lives about a half mile away.
“Boom, boom. And we thought the roof was falling down on the house,” said Ed Saunders, who lives just 165 yards away from the burned tanks.
Saunders said that the oil tanks were put in about five years ago, after he had lived there for roughly 10 years.
An Anadarko Petroleum spokesperson told the Associated Press that workers were doing a maintenance project on the facility when the fire started and that the battery was not in operation at the time.
“Knowing and feeling that explosion, you knew something very bad had happened,” Saunders recalled, in an interview with CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.
One worker died and three others were injured. One of the injured workers suffered serious burns.
Pugliano said that he was lucky to have missed the blast. He and his wife happened to take their daily walk to the edge of the battery field a bit earlier than usual on Thursday.
“The time that happened is the time we (usually) walk the dog,” Pugliano said.
The area is highly residential with countless active drills.
“Who knows how many pipes are going through? I mean, we have an Anadarko line running through our property. I don’t know what’s going through it, if it’s gas or oil or what. But it’s unnerving,” Pugliano said.
He and other residents want oil companies to keep tracking farther away from homes.
“There’s plenty of room in open space. Why do they have to put them right next to a housing development?” Pugliano asked.
“They need to back off,” Saunders agreed. He was calling for more oversight. “It’s dangerous, proven dangerous. And that’s the part that’s worrisome.”
Anadarko is required to submit an accident report form and analysis of the cause.
The investigation into the deadly fire may take several weeks, according to a Mountain View Fire spokesperson.