EnCana says fire caused by static | PostIndependent.com

EnCana says fire caused by static

RIFLE – Static electricity caused Tuesday’s Hunter Mesa condensate tank fire on an EnCana natural gas well pad, said company spokesman Doug Hock. The fire, which broke out around 5:25 p.m. Tuesday, reportedly shot flames 200 feet in the air and billowed toxic black smoke, which eventually drifted over some Grass Mesa residents’ homes. Hock said the company is blaming static build-up on a tarpaulin covering the condensate tank for igniting the blaze, which took about five hours to extinguish. To minimize fire danger at its well sites, EnCana is looking into using tanks that don’t have to be covered by a tarp, he said. The company also met with Rifle fire officials to discuss how to minimize the smoke such fires emit. The solution, he said, is to store fire retardant foam in a place that makes it more readily available to the fire department. Hock said he doesn’t know if static build-up on a tarp has ever caused another fire at an EnCana gas well before, but he cited static as the cause of a well fire last December near Parachute. In that case, static caused sand leaking from a slightly open valve on a separator unit to spark and ignite escaping gas.

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