By Melissa Garcia
WINDSOR, Colo. (CBS4) – The worker injured in an explosion and fire at an oil & gas drilling operation on the outskirts of Windsor Friday is “stable,” according to a company official.
Firefighter believe an industrial accident caused the portable oil and gas drilling facility at the town of Windsor’s east edge to go up in flames shortly before 9 p.m.
They remained on scene all night and into Saturday dousing flames and hotspots.
Officials with Windsor Severance Fire Rescue said crews were able to put the last of the flames out shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday.
The well, surrounded by barriers in an open field, is not far from a newer residential sub-division that is home to hundreds of people.
Some neighbors were still shaken up the next day.
“I was actually putting my daughter down to bed,” said Justin Daniels, who lives just across Weld County Road 68 from the drilling facility.
“We just felt, heard this really loud boom, and then felt the house shake,” he told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.
Copter4 video showed the glowing blaze from miles away, a distance from which other residents could also hear the boom.
“I thought it was something close to home because that’s how loud it was,” said Joe Meilinger, a Weld County Resident.
“I heard a loud bang (and) saw the door shaking,” said Josh Letofsky.
Fire burned furiously at the drilling site, which is owned by the company Extraction Oil & Gas.
“You could just see that massive plume of smoke up in the sky. The fire looked like it was still spreading,” Daniels said.
Flames rose from multiple areas at the smoky scene as firefighters doused the blaze for hours, in a difficult operation requiring hundreds of thousands of gallons of water.
“Getting water in there was another challenge, because there’s no hydrants. They (firefighters were) in a field about three quarters of a mile away from the nearest hydrant, said Todd Vess, Batallion Chief with Windsor Fire Rescue.
One worker, injured onsite, was rushed to the hospital.
A spokesman with Extraction Oil & Gas could not answer questions or say how badly the worker was hurt, but provided a statement saying he is “stable” and that the company’s “thoughts are with him for a speedy recovery.”
“Considering I do this for a living, I work for the oil and gas industry. With what happened, it’s very incredible that only one person has been injured,” said William Opdyke, who lives in Weld County.
A spokesperson with the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission said that once the site is deemed safe to enter, COGCC employees will participate in the investigation alongside the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The explosion’s cause has yet to be determined.