Man killed in explosion at Craig-area drilling site

A Craig man was killed this morning when a 300-barrel storage tank exploded at an oil and gas development site in Moffat County as workers there were using a propane heating device to thaw valves.

Jon Herod, 49, was killed in the incident at an Axia Energy site on Moffat County Road 103 about six miles north of Craig around 10:30 a.m.

The Moffat County Sheriff’s Office said in a new release that investigators were told that employees from Herod Industries were trying to load some produced water into a tank from a hydraulic fracturing operation. But the valves were frozen, an Axia Energy onsite supervisor told authorities.

The employees then tried heating the valves with the propane device, which is believed to have caused the explosion. While an investigation continues, the sheriff’s office said the death is considered accidental and no foul play is suspected.

Bill Johnston, chief of Craig Fire/Rescue, said other employees were able to run away before the explosion and weren’t injured.

He said the explosion launched the tank about 50 feet in the air and it landed on the trailer of a semi truck.

Herod was found close to where the tank came to rest and had suffered trauma, Johnston said. He was dead on the scene.

Johnston said the water contained condensate, consisting of flammable organic chemicals. There was another storage tank on the site, and his first concern was working to keep that one from exploding. Crews also put out a fire that burned in a secondary containment area some distance from the exploded tank.

According to Herod Industries’ website, it provides portable restroom and oilfield services in Craig, Steamboat Springs and Baggs, Wyo.


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