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Loveland father fighting for his life after oil tank explosion

Posted at 10:01 PM, Oct 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-30 00:32:24-04

BRIGGSDALE, Colo. — An oil tank worker is on life support after an oil battery explosion in Weld County. It happened Saturday in Briggsdale. 

The man's girlfriend, Derae Caro, said she's scared and wants some answers.

“When I first heard it, I knew something was really, really wrong,” she told Denver 7’s Tom Mustin.

Dillon Dreher has been in a medically induced coma ever since with several surgeries planned for the next few weeks.

"He's trying to move, trying to open his eyes, so I think he can feel our presence there,” said Caro.

Dreher and Caro are both 23 years old. Their daughter Lilly is 3. He’s raised her since she was 8 months old. 

Outside their Loveland home, Dreher's muddy boots are still standing. Pictures show a loving couple and a doting father.

“Sometimes he would work 18 hours straight. He would still say goodnight to Lilly,” she said. “He's just a great person.”

Dreher has worked for two years for the Greeley company, Element Services. He had been working on an oil battery when stray oil inside ignited. 

The explosion injured three workers, one of them saved Dreher’s life.

"He saw Dillon on the floor with his head in the dirt, and he was on fire,” said Caro. “He threw Dillon over his shoulder and brought him to the end of the road.

Dreher suffered second and third-degree burns over 60 percent of his body. The Weld County Sheriff's Office says Dreher had been using old equipment when the explosion happened. 

Caro says he had voiced concerns before about the dangers of his job.

“Is it fair to say he had some safety concerns?“ asked Mustin. “Yes, he worked for our family. That was something he did for us,” Caro replied.

Element wouldn't comment on the accident, but sent Denver7 a statement saying in part, "Our immediate concern is with Dillon and his family."

And now with a long road ahead, Caro is hoping, somehow, the love of her life will pull through.
“I want people to pray for Dillon and know how hard working of a guy he is, and hope that he pulls through and fights,” she said. 

Dreher’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses.