Craig resident dies in tank explosion
January 3, 2013
A tank battery explosion Thursday morning on Moffat County Road 103 about seven miles north of Craig has resulted in the death of a local male resident.
Jon Herod, 49, of Craig, was pronounced dead at the scene after a 300 barrel tank exploded.
The incident, which Moffat County Sheriff’s Office deputies are investigating as an accident, occurred at approximately 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Axia Energy’s Bulldog rig site 531.
An ambulance crew from The Memorial Hospital in Craig and multiple engines from Craig Fire/Rescue also responded to the incident.
According to a Sheriff’s Office news release, employees from Herod Industries were attempting to offload produced water from a fracking site elsewhere in Moffat County into a storage tank at Bulldog Rig 531.
Employees were unable to offload the produced water due to frozen valves from the cold weather, said an Axia Energy supervisor in a statement to law enforcement officials.
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Investigator Jeremy Ashton, of the Sheriff’s Office, said law enforcement officials think Herod used a propane heating device to thaw the valves.
“We believe the valves were frozen and he was trying to thaw them out with a propane heater when it exploded,” Ashton said.
Although Ashton said they’re not exactly sure what caused the explosion, they believe residual oil in the tank could have sparked the fire and explosion.
Ashton said when water from the fracking site is pumped into the tanks, the tanks are supposed to isolate the oil that’s in the water.
Though law enforcement officers do not suspect foul play the incident remains under investigation.