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Statement from the Weld County Commissioners

Posted on 05/04/2017
Statement from the Weld County Commissioners

Weld County Statement, May 4, 2017, from the Weld County Board of Commissioners:

Following Tuesday’s press conference regarding the cause of the tragic home explosion in Firestone, Weld County Commissioners and staff have come together and discussed several items focused on public safety.

First, we want to publicly say our thoughts and prayers have been with both the Martinez and the Irwin families since this heartbreaking incident. Theirs is a tragic loss that should not have occurred.

Second, we appreciate the diligence of the Frederick-Firestone Fire Protection District. Chief Ted Poszywak and his office have done an excellent job on finding the cause of the explosion.

We also appreciate Governor John Hickenlooper and Chief Poszywak clarifying that the explosion was due to an abandoned flow line. This revelation is concerning to us, and we will continue to monitor the state's actions with regard to inspections and enforcement of their regulations. 

The oil and gas industry has been a long-time neighbor in Weld County. Throughout the years, the industry, residents, and state government have worked together to continually increase public safety and create an environment that is beneficial for all. 

And while the industry continues to be a good neighbor in this county, the public’s safety is paramount. That is why the Weld County Board of Commissioners reached out to the COGCC the afternoon of May 2 (following the FFFPD press conference) to set up a meeting to learn how the inspection of wells will be conducted, how the inspection reports will be recorded and how will those reports by made available to the public (the meeting date has not yet been set). It is also why the Weld County Board of Commissioners has asked our Oil and Gas Liaison (Local Government Designee) and Department of Environmental Health to research options for air/soil monitoring equipment and the possible setting up of a program similar to the water testing program the county offers at no charge to county residents concerned about the quality of their well water. County staff have started researching options and compiling information regarding testing equipment. They will update the Board next week as to their progress. 

We will continue to explore what we as a county can do, within our purview, to ensure the safety of our residents. We will continue to advocate for public safety for the residents in Weld County. We will continue to actively participate in discussions with the industry and with the state regarding improvements that can be made. And we will continue to find a way to successfully coexist with an industry that has been and will be in Weld County for a long-time to come.