Stor­age tanks ex­plode, burn again in Brighton

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Bruce Fin­ley Bruce Fin­ley: 303-954-1700, bfin­ley@den­ver­ or @fin­ley­bruce John Leyba, The Den­ver Post

Great Western Oil and Gas stor­age tanks on the north side of Brighton ex­ploded and burned Thurs­day — the sec­ond time in three weeks that crews were called to fight a blaze at the site.

Two work­ers un­load­ing ma­te­ri­als at 821 Weld County Road 27 re­ported an ex­plo­sion at 2:12 p.m., Brighton Fire Depart­ment spokes­woman Natalie Rid­der­bos said. The tanks are just south­west of the Ves­tas fac­tory where blades for wind-power sys­tems are built.

The oil work­ers weren’t hurt, she said.

Great Western of­fi­cials “had to turn off the nat­u­ral gas lines be­fore we could fight the fire,” Rid­der­bos said. “It is for our safety.”

Nearby homes were not evac­u­ated.

Stan Hiller, 61, whose farm is about 200 yards north of tanks, said Thurs­day’s fire wasn’t as big as the one on Sept. 20.

“But it makes you ner­vous,” said Hiller, who has oil and gas op­er­a­tions on his prop­erty. “I thought those tanks would start blow­ing up in se­quence … just part of the busi­ness.”

Crews from Brighton, North Metro, South Adams and Fort Lup­ton fire de­part­ments re­sponded and will man­age the fire un­til the oil burns out, Rid­der­bos said. “The last time this hap­pened, it was a few hours.”

There was an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the pre­vi­ous fire, but of­fi­cials couldn’t say what the out­come of that probe was.

“We are work­ing with the op­er­a­tor to find out why this hap­pened again,” Rid­der­bos said.

Early on, a plume of smoke was vis­i­ble from U.S. 85. But later, Rid­der­bos said not much was vis­i­ble as crews poured two streams of water on the fire. “You’re mostly see­ing water on the fire,” she said. “No plumes of smoke.”

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