FIRESTONE, Colo. — Anadarko Petroleum announced Wednesday it is closing 3,000 vertical wells in northeastern Colorado after the deadly explosion and fire at a home in Firestone.
The explosion on April 17 killed two men, Mark Martinez and his brother-in-law Joey Irwin. Mark Martinez’s wife, Erin, was seriously injured in the explosion in the 6300 block of Twilight Avenue.
The explosion was so intense, it leveled the two-story home. Residents as far as three blocks away reported feeling the ground shake.
Martinez and Irwin were found in the rubble of the home the next day.
“This terrible tragedy has left all of us with heavy hearts, and the families and their loved ones are in our thoughts and prayers,” Anadarko chairman, president and CEO Al Walker said in a statement.
Officials with the Frederick Firestone Protection District said there is no threat to surrounding homes and that a nearby well is just one aspect of the investigation.
The well is just 170 feet from the home. It was drilled in 1993 and an expert said the problem could be a leaking flow line that connects the gas to a production facility.
He said the flow line likely traveled under the Martinez home or very close to it and gas might have seeped into the home.
He also said it’s unlikely Anadarko would shut down 3,000 wells if it wasn’t worried it was connected to the explosion.
Neighbors said they’re still left with questions.
“Not knowing what’s going on, not having answers, those are the things that kind of concern me as a homeowner and as a father,” Firestone resident Jeff Baum said.
“The police chief and the fire chief came by and just was talking to all the homeowners and saying everything was safe for us. They don’t feel that we need to evacuate or leave the area. In that aspect, I believe everything is safe.”
“It’s scary. I mean, I think we deserve to know what’s going on,” Chantell Moore said.
“Our teams will remain actively engaged with residents in the Firestone community,” said Brad Holly, the senior vice president for U.S. onshore exploration and production with Anadarko.
“Colorado residents must feel safe in their own homes, and I want to be clear that we are committed to understanding all that we can about this tragedy as we work with each investigating agency until causes can be determined.”
An industry insider who used to work for Anadarko said the company stands to lose about $650,000 every day by shutting down 3,000 wells.
Anadarko said it will inspect each well of the same vintage, a process that could take two to four weeks.
A GoFundMe account has raised more than $106,000 to help the Martinez and Irwin families.