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Riverton compressor station fire that injured worker investigated

Jan 3, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the Christmas Day explosion at a compressor station south of Riverton.

David Crichton, 36, of Riverton, was burned in the incident, which was reported at about 10 a.m. Dec. 25.

He was flown to the University of Utah Burn Center. His mother said his injuries were serious by not life threatening. She reported severe burns to his face, neck and hands.

Wyoming OSHA spokeswoman Hayley McKee said Crichton was working for D and R Pumping Services of Missouri. The compressor station operator is Legacy Reserves of Texas.

She said she won't be able to release information about her agency's investigation into the flash fire for some time.

"We won't really know too much more for a while," McKee said. "Those investigations take time, (and) we don't release information until it's really done."

In several weeks she said she may have a "rough idea of what we believe happened," but it could take up to six months to complete the investigation.

"It's a big process," she said. "We do interviews and (get) evidence collected, all sorts of stuff. ... We are involved in getting information (now)."

Local fire officials said Crichton already had been transported from the scene of the explosion when they arrived with a crew of two engine companies and six firefighters.

In initial reports, Crichton appeared completely alert and could be heard speaking. The reporting party said he suffered "severe" burns to his face and hands.

Crichton's mother said her son normally didn't check that particular station but did so on Christmas Day because a co-worker had the day off.

Fremont County Fire Protection District deputy chief Dan Oakley said company employees had shut the lines going to the compressor station before firefighters arrived.

"We shut off a couple more lines close to the building to take the pressurized gas out of the lines," Oakley said. "We sprayed a little water to cool down the building and stuff in the building -- there were a couple of hot spots and papers on fire."

He said the fire itself was relatively minor, and crews were at the scene for about an hour.

"I may have put 500 gallons on this building," Oakley said. "We really didn't do much of anything."

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