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Fire at Lysite gas plant burns four Wednesday

Fire at Lysite gas plant burns four Wednesday

Aug 22, 2012 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Four men suffered burns Wednesday morning after an explosion at the ConocoPhillips Lost Cabin gas plant near Lysite.

Injuries to two of the men were described as "extremely critical."

The incident occurred at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday during a routine maintenance operation. ConocoPhillips officials said the explosion did not involve production gas, and no local communities were evacuated as a result of the blast.

"A portion of the plant was shut down for routine maintenance," said Jim Lowry, director of communications and public affairs for ConocoPhillips. "There was some sort of a flash fire incident that extinguished itself immediately. ... I don't have specific information about the cause."

The plant is secure and has been evacuated, he said, and all personnel have been accounted for. The victims of the explosion were contract workers and were not employees of ConocoPhillips, Lowry added.

"It was contractors who called the explosion in, not actual employees from the plant," Sheriff's Captain David Good said Wednesday. "We think (the explosion) was probably out at a site outside the plant where maybe welding contractors or piping contractors or someone was working. But we can't confirm that. It's all ongoing."

Good said of the four victims, two suffered "extremely critical" injuries.

Officials said two of the victims were flown from the scene in two separate helicopters and were likely transported to the Western States Burn Center in Greeley, Colo.

Another patient was driven by ambulance to Shoshoni, then flown to the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper. The final victim was taken to Riverton Memorial Hospital by ground.

"We were doing what we could to get them up and out of there," Sheriff's Captain Ryan Lee said Wednesday morning. "Some law enforcement assisted trying to help carry patients and coordinate the effort."

Lowry said maintenance work at the Lost Cabin site has been suspended. He anticipated a full investigation would be initiated to determine what caused the explosion.

"We want to know why it happened to make sure it won't happen again," he said.

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