Dennison commends gas rig fire response teams
Response by emergency teams to the Feb. 22 gas rig fire near Parachute went extremely well, said Doug Dennison, Garfield County oil and gas auditor.Dennison said county officials, Grand Valley Fire Protection District, the Rifle Fire Protection District and Williams Production RMT Co., the owner of the affected well, evaluated their response to the fire. He reported the results to the Garfield County Commissioners on Monday.The Grand Valley Fire Department, an all-volunteer team, handled the fire on a professional level, he said. But the circumstances gave the firefighters an advantage.I think they had a lot of luck in their favor, Dennison said. The gas well that caught fire was next to Highway 6 & 24, allowing easy access for water trucks. And the fire occurred early Sunday morning, when volunteer firefighters were at home, not spread up and down the valley at their jobs.Though the effort went well, the evaluation resulted in lessons that can make emergency services better, including: Training firefighters in the use of 150-pound fire extinguishers. Better distribution of hose connections and other hardware necessary to use water from various sources. Increased awareness of water sources and routes to these sources. Training to coordinate the responses of various emergency agencies.Dennison also briefed the commissioners on regional efforts toward monitoring air quality in western Garfield County to determine the effects of gas development. Currently, he said, Colorado Mountain College is developing a two-to-three-day workshop at its Leadville campus, where area high school teachers and other qualified individuals will learn air sampling techniques. In other business Monday, the Board of County Commissioners: Rejected an invitation to join the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments. Approved spending $5,000 for a feasibility study for a 1.5-mile section of trail extending from Carbondale south to the Pitkin County line. The trail would eventually extend to Crested Butte. Approved an intergovernmental agreement with the towns within the county to share the cost of mosquito control. The county has contracted with Colorado Mosquito Control to manage the countys battle against West Nile virus and the insects that carry it.The contractor will take the lead in disseminating information to the public because of concerns over trade secrets.Contact Jeremy Heiman: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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