Natural gas explosion shakes up Colo. between Rifle and Rulison
December 7, 2005
GARFIELD COUNTY – An explosion at a Williams Production compressor station between Rifle and Rulison set off a big boom and a blast of fire that was heard and felt up to nearly one mile away early Tuesday morning.No one was injured in the accident.The blaze, located about 200 yards from Interstate 70 off Anvil Points Road, five miles west of Rifle south of the interstate, was seen by many commuters on their way to work.The first call about the fire was made to authorities shortly after 7 a.m. The building was engulfed in flames, but no serious injuries were reported.”There was one driver getting his truck ready close to where the building blew,” said Sgt. Kurt Conrad of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. “He had some ringing in his ears and was taken to the hospital for safety reasons. Other than that, we got lucky.”The natural gas valves were shut off and the area was secured immediately by employees, according to Susie Manicom, spokesperson for Williams Production.”We’re working with the appropriate agencies to investigate the cause of the fire,” Manicom said.About 80 wells fed into the compressor station, and the shutdown will cause the loss in production of about 15 million cubic feet of gas per day, according to Manicom. However, the gas lines are currently being re-routed to other compressor stations, which should curtail the amount lost.The cause of the explosion is still under investigation, and the extent of damage, although significant, is not yet known.”We’re looking at mechanical issues at this point,” Conrad said. “There’s no foul play or suspicious activity.”The fire was allowed to burn itself out, and emergency crews were released from the scene by 10:30 a.m.Responding agencies to the explosion included the sheriff’s office, Rifle Fire Department, Parachute Fire Protection District, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Patrol.