Town of Firestone honors first responders months after home explosion

Posted at 5:53 PM, Aug 02, 2017

FIRESTONE, Colo. – A ceremony to honor the many first responders, neighbors and nearby workers that rushed to the scene of a home explosion in Firestone was held Wednesday at the Public Works Department in Firestone.

It was the first time that everyone who was affected by the tragedy or involved in the life-saving efforts was under one roof.

“Those guys are truly heroes. To them they weren’t just rescuing or saving anyone, to them they were rescuing a friend," said one of the atendees.

The families of both victims filled the seats, including Erin Martinez, the woman who lost her husband Mark Martinez and her brother Joey Irwin in the explosion of her home. A nearby severed gas line had leaked methane into the basement of the home that ignited while Joey and Mark were working on a water heater.

Tiffany Trujillo is Mark’s cousin and part of one of the two victim’s families that have been staples in the Firestone community for generations.

“It’s just really nice to thank all of the people and for Erin to put a face to the name. Thank everybody who helped save her and tried to save Mark and Joey,” said Trujillo.

It was moment to thank first responders, their neighbors and anyone there that day that tried to help. 

Doug Prunk, with the Frederick and Firestone Fire Protection unit, has been involved with the investigation since the day of the accident and has seen firsthand the struggle to move forward.

“This is good for the community to help with the grieving process,” said Prunk.

The ceremony was a way to grieve and remember the lives lost. The Public Works Department, whom Mark Martinez was a foreman for, retired his truck number.

“Our family helped build this community and it makes me proud to see that we are just Firestone strong,” said Trujillo.

The cause of the April 17 explosion that killed Mark Martinez and Joey Irwin was revealed to be unrefined gas from an abandoned gas line.

The aftermath of the explosion led the Anadarko Petrolum Company to shut in all of its wells in the state, as well as Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to direct all oil and gas operators across the state to inspect and pressure test all existing oil and gas flowlines within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings.

The investigation into the explosion is still ongoing.