“Federal report on fatal Firestone explosion blames gas leak, government approval to build homes without pipeline maps” Denver Post, by John Aguilar

The April 17, 2017, blast killed Mark Martinez and Joey Irwin, and severely burned Erin Martinez

Here is an excerpt from the Denver Post article:

“The federal investigation into the 2017 explosion that killed two people and destroyed a home in Firestone determined the likely cause was a natural gas leak through a pipeline that had been severed during construction of the home two years earlier.

The newly released report from the National Transportation Safety Board also blames, in part, local government approval of homes to be constructed on former oil and gas fields without complete documentation on the location of operator Andarko Petroleum Corporation’s pipelines.

‘Contributing to the accident was the approval by local authorities to allow occupied structures to be built on land adjacent to or previously part of oil and gas production fields without complete documentation from the operator, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, on the location and status of its gathering system pipelines,’ the NTSB wrote.

The April 17, 2017, blast killed Mark Martinez and Joey Irwin and left Erin Martinez, Mark’s wife and Irwin’s sister, badly burned. Mark Martinez and Irwin were replacing a hot water heater in the home’s basement at the time.

Fire investigators later found a 1-inch diameter black plastic pipeline running from an Anadarko Petroleum well near the house that had been cut when a tank battery was moved before the Oak Meadows subdivision was built. That pipeline leaked the gas from a point six feet from the southeast corner of the house at 6312 Twilight Ave. in Firestone. Investigators said they found the gas valve at the Anadarko well in the “on” position.

In the wake of the explosion, Colorado leaders promised they’d do all they could to prevent a similar tragedy, including pledging a comprehensive public map of pipelines in the state. Thirty months later, as The Denver Post recently reported, that still hasn’t happened.

The NTSB completed its report on Oct. 18. It did not include any recommendations or directives for homebuilders, local government officials or oil and gas operators relating to the tragedy.”

Read the entire article here.