Firefighters douse burning drilling truck |

Firefighters douse burning drilling truck

Heather McGregor
Post Independent Editor
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Rifle firefighters used foam and water early Monday to extinguish a fire in an open-topped frac tank on a Williams drill pad 10 miles south of Rifle.

No one was injured, and property damage was limited to the paint on the tank, said Rob Willits, battalion chief for the Rifle Fire Protection District.

The fire started about 5 a.m., was reported at 5:15 and was out shortly after 6 a.m. The drill pad is on U.S. Bureau of Land Management land in the Beaver Creek drainage, but outside of the city of Rifle watershed, said Williams spokeswoman Donna Gray.

She said gas wells had already been drilled at the site and crews were in the process of fracturing the well. The water and sand used to fracture the well were flowing back up into the tank when gas within the produced water caught fire, she said.

Willits said a nearby vehicle had an equipment malfunction that may have sparked the fire. He noted that the lid on top of the frac tank had been opened prior to the fire to get rid of a gas build-up.

The tank had three to four feet of water inside, and the fire crew of six, working with a fire engine and water tender, doused it with water and firefighting foam.

“We had it totally extinguished in about a half hour,” Willits said.

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