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Rare mix of propane, air blamed in eastern Utah explosion

Published April 8, 2013 5:42 pm

Jensen • Ignition source a mystery, but possibilities identified.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Preliminary results have been released from a month-long probe into an explosive fire at Adler Hot Oil in eastern Utah, blaming the blaze on a rare combustible mix of oxygen and propane being present at the time of ignition.

However, in a report released on Monday, neither Jensen Fire Department, the Uintah Fire District nor the State Fire Marshal's Office had yet identified the specific source of ignition for the March 2 fire that caused millions of dollars in damage to 26 facilities and homes in and near the Ashley Valley Industrial Park.

The report, released by Jensen Fire Chief Todd Wallis, stated that, "The level of deflagration indicates a near perfect ignitable mixture of propane and air was present at ignition" inside the Adler Hot Oil building.

Adler Hot Oil, an oil field service company, uses truck-mounted propane fueled heaters to warm fluids in the oil and gas fields. One of those tanks, according to initial reports, was leaking prior to the explosion inside the building.

Investigators reported finding multiple possible ignition sources throughout the structure, but had not yet narrowed the down the exact source.

The preliminary report has been filed with the National Fire Incident Reporting System, but Wallis noted that numerous private investigators, insurance company and legal representatives remained on the scene Monday continuing their own inquiries.

Demolition of debris and structures began on Sunday, authorities said.

Total losses were still being assessed, but were estimated to exceed tens of millions of dollars.


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