Fire erupts at well pad south of Silt |

Fire erupts at well pad south of Silt

SILT – Early risers in the Silt area who looked out their windows most likely saw flames and billowing black smoke if they looked toward the south.A fire broke out at a well pad operated by Bill Barrett Corp. around 4:30 a.m. on Saturday between Divide Creek and Dry Hollow, about five miles south of town. The incident sent two oil field workers to the hospital. They were treated for smoke inhalation and released, said Jim Felton, communications director for Bill Barrett Corp. The fire also melted a porta-potty.”We got the call at 5:07 a.m. and we were there around 5:30 a.m.,” said Brit McLin, fire chief for the Burning Mountains Fire Protection District. “There was one tank opened up and a 500 barrel capacity (tank) fully involved in flames. There was also a half dozen ground flares.”As a precautionary measure, Bill Barrett Corp. has shut down the wells on the pad. “We are also stopping flowback procedures at wells elsewhere in the area until the investigation is completed,” Felton said. Flowback is the process that separates gas from water, sand and condensates. On-Site Safety Inc., a company hired by oil and gas companies to do preventative work, training and safety precaution, also responded to the fire and worked with the fire district to help extinguish it.”We offer fire protection for the oil field during critical well operations,” said Jordan Helm, operations manager for On-Site Safety. “We specialize in flammable liquid fires (like this one.)”On-Site Safety, a subsidiary of Firemaster in Canada, has operations in Oklahoma, California and Wyoming and just opened an office in Silt on Tuesday.With the work of the two emergency responders, the fire was extinguished by 9 a.m.”An investigation is still going on as to what caused the spark that lit this off,” McLin said.The well-pad was located in the middle of an uninhabited pasture, and no homes were threatened.

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