A fire broke out yesterday at a gas well in Colorado where hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is taking place. The fire, which broke out around 5:30 a.m. local time, could prompt even more calls for better of the oil and gas industry, particularly operations involving hydraulic fracturing, in Colorado.
The fire broke out at a Williams well in the Beaver Creek area, about eight miles south of Rifle. The workers on the scene were beginning the day’s fracking when the fire broke out. According to a report from KJCT8.com, eyewitnesses on scene say they heard two explosions and then saw flames shooting into the air. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and the fire was put out by 6:30.
A spokesperson for Williams told KJCT8.com that smaller fires associated with fracking, in which millions of gallons of water and chemicals are injected deep underground under high pressure, are not uncommon. Water that is pumped out of the wells can contain flammable hydrocarbons, which can on occasion ignite.
According to a report from the American Independent, Williams is the most active drilling company in Garfield County, which saw the second most drilling permits issued in the state in 2010. The same report also said that Denver-based Antero Resources is looking to increase its drilling in the Garfield County communities of Silt and Battlement Mesa. As we reported earlier this month, Silt has been experiencing some issues that many people there believe could be the result of fracking.
Just last week, the Colorado Independent reported that Garfield County officials, in a legal filing concerning Antero’s plan to increase drilling density in two Silt subdivisions from one well per 40 acres to one well per 10 acres, complained that such an increase not only would generate more noise and traffic, but more significantly, create the potential for more accidents, spills and exposure to chemicals.
â€œNo agency, including the [Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission], can guarantee the Garfield County residents that exposures to oil and gas emissions will not produce illness or latent effects, including death,â€ county officials wrote.
Some families in the area have also complained that emissions from Antero’s fracking have caused their families to suffer from health problems. Late last year, for example Beth Strudley, her husband, Bill, and their two sons started house hunting after their family began suffering rashes, nose bleeds and other problems Beth blames on nearby fracking. She says Anteroâ€™s drilling has ruined her water well, which now smells like rotten eggs, and compromised air quality in the area.
â€œOur waterâ€™s screwed, the air is screwed, we have to leave our house,â€ she recently told the Glendale Post Independent. â€œWe have to get out of Silt Mesa