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Two critically injured in explosion and fire at Utah natural gas plant

23 November 2012

Two men were critically injured in an explosion and fire on November 20 at the Dry Canyon natural gas operations station, Carbon County, Utah. A ruptured pipeline was later blamed for the blast.

"They have burns … from their ankles up to about the back of their heads, on their backs, from actually trying to evacuate the area when that explosion happened," said Carbon County Sheriff's Lt. Troy Christiansen.

The men were flown by helicopter to hospital, said Jim Felton of Bill Barrett Corp., an oil and natural gas exploration and development company that operates the station in the Nine Mile Canyon area, about 20 miles east of Price, which itself is south-east of Salt Lake City.

The damage to the facility included a large crater in the ground, buildings obliterated by the blast, and charred shells of what used to be pickup trucks.

"The amount of damage there, I can't give you monetary value, but it's pretty expensive," Christiansen said. "It looks like a total loss. As far as the compression station, they'll have to rebuild it."

Firefighters throughout Carbon County were dispatched to the scene. Once they arrived, they kept their distance, allowing the facility to burn as a precaution. With a large amount of natural gas on site in tanks, emergency officials decided it was better to let it burn off.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration representatives are assessing the situation.


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