Firestone home explosion: What's changed, 1 year after deadly blast?

Posted at 8:14 AM, Apr 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-17 20:36:46-04

DENVER – Tuesday marks one year since a leaking gas line caused an explosion at a home in Firestone that killed two people.

Mark Martinez and Joey Irwin were both killed in the blast on April 17, 2017, and Mark's wife Erin suffered serious burns.

Anadarko owned the uncapped gas line that caused the explosion. The line had been leaking non-odorous gas into the home on Twilight Ave. for several months.

Earlier this month, the company posted an updated account of its response to the tragedy, saying that Anadarko is committed to learning from what happened to ensure it never happens again.

"It was…  it's still tough. I think something folks in our office think about every day," said Anadarko Health, Safety and Environmental Director Korby Bracken. "We've gone through and done 25-point inspections with all of our facilities to make sure they meet not only the regulatory standards, but Anadarko's standards."

In the days after the explosion, Anadarko announced it had shut in more than 3,000 vertical wells. These are older technology and legacy wells that were at the center of the tragedy.

The company now says nearly half (1,350) are back in service. 600 have been plugged and abandoned, and the rest are still being evaluated.

Anadarko also said it permanently disconnected nearly 4,000 one-inch flowlines. One of those lines was left uncapped and leaked, causing the explosion.

Colorado's biggest oil and gas company said all active flowlines within 1,000 feet of a building have been inspected and they have distributed more than 750 methane detectors to concerned residents.

New rules passed in February are set to take effect on May 1. They require oil and gas companies to register flowlines, perform routine tests to detect leaks, provide information about flowline locations and mark those that are not in use.

The state also has committed to expanding the 811 phone line program, which provides gas line location information before a dig. 

Today, the site of the Firestone explosion remains an empty lot. The well that led to the explosion is still there but it is not producing any gas.