One man pronounced dead Wednesday night in oil and gas fire in Windsor
GREELEY — One man is dead following a fire Wednesday at an oil and gas site in Windsor.
The fire was reported about 6:30 p.m. at a tank battery just north of Hillcrest and Weld County Road 66, which is about four miles east of downtown Windsor near Vestas Blades Americas. Great Western Oil & Gas Company operates the site.
About 40 firefighters from Windsor-Severance Fire Rescue and the Greeley, Eaton and Front Range fire departments responded to the scene, said Windsor Fire Chief Kris Kazian. Once on scene, firefighters encountered a blaze emanating from one of the tanks. There also was a Great Western work truck on scene, but there was no one inside, Kazian said.
Standard protocol requires a company representative to meet responders at the scene of an emergency to help coordinate an attack plan, but that didn’t happen initially, Kazian said. Several firefighters climbed to the top of a non-burning tank to assess the situation, while others took a 360-degree survey from the ground.
It was during those initial moments firefighters learned about why there might have been a delayed response from Great Western; an employee was already on scene. However, firefighters located him unconscious and unresponsive on top of a nearby tank.
Additional Great Western employees arrived at the scene “within 15 or 20 minutes” and helped firefighters coordinate plans to rescue the man and put out the blaze, Kazian said. The rescue mission was complicated by the fire, Kazian said, and firefighters found themselves trying to perform both tasks at the same time.
The man was finally recovered about 8 p.m., or 90 minutes after the 911 call, Kazian said. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Weld County Coroner’s Office. No other injuries or fatalities were reported.
Weld County Coroner Carl Blesch said the man’s identity likely wouldn’t be released until Friday. It is believed he was alone at the site performing maintenance when the fire ignited, Kazian said.
The fire was extinguished about 10 p.m. Wednesday. Firefighters were released from the scene about an hour later.
Fire investigators were at the scene as of 9:45 a.m. Thursday trying to determine a cause of the fire, Kazian said. He was hopeful a cause would be known by Thursday afternoon.
Windsor-Severance Fire doesn’t technically have a multiple alarm system in place, but Kazian said every firefighter employed by the department, including those who were not working Wednesday, were called to respond to the scene. In addition to assistance from the Front Range, Eaton and Greeley fire departments, Loveland and Ault-Pierce firefighters responded to Windsor to staff fire houses and respond to any additional emergencies in town.
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