CSB Examining Fatal Home Explosion

Photo: LA Times

FIRESTONE, Colo. (AP) — The U.S.  Chemical Safety Board (CSB)  is sending an investigative team to examine the site of a home explosion last month which was caused by a nearby leaking gas well, killing two people.

Preliminary information indicates that the well was no longer in service, but an uncapped flow line came within several feet of the home and was the likely source of the explosion.  CSB investigators will be examining these circumstances.

According to The Journal, the explosion has prompted the governor to order sweeping inspections of natural gas lines and is certain to worsen tensions in a state already divided over how to regulate the industry.

The one-inch pipeline, extending from a nearby gas well owned by Anadarko Petroleum Co, had been cut about 10 feet (3 meters) from the home of Mark and Erin Martinez in Firestone, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Denver, officials said.

The pipe leaked unrefined natural gas that was undetectable because odorants — often added to gas to signal leaks — were not used. Propane and methane leached through the soil, entering the home through a French drain and sump pump before accumulating enough to become explosive, investigators said.

Al Walker, Anadarko chairman, president and chief executive, said in a statement that the company would continue to cooperate in the ongoing investigation “to ensure we fully understand the basis for the fire district’s conclusions and that no stone is left unturned prior to any final determinations.”