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Eastern Utah oil rig fire capped, investigators probe cause

Published February 6, 2013 12:13 pm

Roosevelt • January blaze had forced evacuation in town.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Investigators have begun inspection at the scene of a now-extinguished eastern Utah oil rig fire to determine what caused the site to erupt in flame last month, forcing evacuation of parts of Roosevelt.

Chip Minty, spokesman for the Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy, said Wednesday that Houston-based Wild Well Control, internationally renowned oil- and gas-well firefighting experts, successful capped the well and extinguished the fire on Monday night.

"We have safely completed that process. Now that the fire has been put out, we are beginning the review of the well to determine contributing factors that led to the incident," Minty said.

The fire began on Jan. 22, forcing evacuation of a half-mile radius of the drill site. In all, a dozen families were put up by Devon Energy and site owners Frontier Drilling for several days until fears over release of hydrogen sulfide gas subsided, allowing them to return to their homes.

"It is important for us to note that there were no injuries from the incident or the subsequent mitigation efforts. The safety of our workers, our neighbors and the environment were our primary concern," Minty said.

He could not say when Devon Energy expected to have its findings about the cause of the fire, noting "that process has just begun."

The blaze was reported about 12:10 a.m. Jan. 22, not long after drilling crews had completed sinking a well shaft. There was a release of oil and gas from the rig, which then ignited.

remims@sltrib.com