Last updated 5:43PM ET
December 16, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Explosion, Fire Hit LaPlata Gas Plant
(2007-11-28)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: An explosion and fire early this morning caused heavy damage to a natural gas processing plant west of Ignacio.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports:

KNOWLTON: THEY HAD FELT THE EXPLOSION FROM THEIR HOMES; IT WAS A VERY NOTICEABLE EXPLOSION.
LaPlata Emergency Management Manager Butch Knowlton says the explosion apparently occured in a cooling tower at the Williams Ignacio Field Plant on County Road 307 West of Ignacio and near the airport around 3:30 this morning.
Durango Fire Spokesman Dave Abercrombie says with darkness and concerns about the plant, responding firefighters approached cautiously.
ABERCROMBIE: THE FIRES WERE BEYOND SAVING ANYTHING AT THAT POINT. SEVERAL BUILDINGS WERE INVOLVED. WE LOST, I BELIEVE, IT WAS THREE BUILDINGS, INCLUDING THEIR CONTROL FACILITY.
Abercrombie says after daylight, more than two hours after arrival, firefighters began battling the flames.
It took several hours to control the blaze.
Knowlton says the plant went into an emergency shutdown process.
The only apparent injuries were minor, to seven employees who were inside the plant site at the time.
KNOWLTON: JUST VERY MINOR SMOKE INAHALATION ISSUES, THEY WERE ALL ABLE TO SAFELY GET OUT TO THE COUNTY ROAD AND THEY WERE ALL ACTUALLY HERE GREETING THE FIRE SERVICES PERSONNEL WHEN THEY ARRIVED ON THE SCENE.
Those living in a half mile radius of the plant were told to evacuate, by reverse 9-1-1 calls that were made to 33 telephones.
58 firefighters from the Durango Fire, Los Pinos, Upper Pine, Cedar Hill, and Pagosa fire departments as well as Red Cross, tribal and sheriff's officers and emergency management personnel responded.
A spokesperson for Williams, Sarah Delgado, praised the emergency response.
She says they don't have a dollar estimate of damage yet.
DELGADO: PERSONNEL WHO WERE THERE AT THE PLANT WILL HAVE A THOROUGH INVESTIGATION TO DETERMINE WHAT THE CAUSE WAS AT THE COOLING TOWER, AND THEY WILL WORK VERY CLOSELY WITH LOCAL OFFICIALS AS WELL.
From KSUT, I'm Victor Locke.
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