Possible Explosion, Burn Victim, and Structure Fire in Fort Lupton, Colorado

On February 26, 2006, at 11:33 am, the Fort Lupton Fire Protection District responded to the report of a possible explosion, a burn victim, and structure fire at Weld County Road 19 and Weld County Road 10 in the rural Fort Lupton area which is located about 30 miles north of Denver.

Upon arrival, it was discovered that a large pressurized vessel was compromised by direct flame impingement from a flammable liquid fire. The flames were reaching 150 feet in to the air and the dark black smoke could be seen from over 75 miles away. The victim had taken himself to a nearby residence and was attended to by Weld County Paramedic Crews. He was transported via Air Life of Greeley, to North Colorado Medical Center and was listed in stable condition as of February 26, 2006.

The owner of the compressor Station, Encana Oil and Gas, had representatives on scene rapidly. Initial reports from Encana determined the scene unsafe for any personnel to attempt extinguishment of the fire due to the possibility of an explosion. All crews were pulled back approximately ½ of a mile. Additional resources were requested from Frederick Firestone Fire Protection District, Greater Brighton Fire Protection District, Hudson Fire Protection District, Weld County Sheriffs Office, Colorado State Patrol, and Mountain View Fire Protection District.

A reverse 911 call was made to 90 homes in the area for evacuation in a one mile are all directions from the incident. All of the lines to the vessel were shut down and an attempt to extinguish the fire was made but deemed unsafe for emergency personnel due to the intensity of the fire, limited water supply, and a possibility of explosion.

The command post and all emergency crews were moved back to a mile in each direction. The fire decreased in size and an another attempt at extinguishment was successfully made with water and a dry chemical used to extinguish flammable liquid fires.

The fire was deemed out at 1427 hours. No firefighters or other civilians were injured.

The effort included 75 personnel from various agencies.

The incident was well coordinated between agencies largely in part to a County Wide 800 MHz radio system.

The fire remains under investigation.

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