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Phase 1 Of Oil & Gas Facility Inspections Complete

By Rick Sallinger

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)- The first phase oil and gas facility inspections ordered by the governor has now reached its deadline.

Those inspections were ordered after leaking methane gas was determined to be responsible for a home explosion in Firestone that killed two people and injured two others in April.

Mark Martinez and Joey Irwin were killed in a home explosion in Firestone in 2017. (credit: CBS)

Phase 1 of the inspections concentrated on flow lines within 1000 feet of occupied buildings. Phase 2 to be completed in late June involves pressure testing to make sure no gas is escaping.

CBS4 accompanied a Fort Collins company that detects methane leaks. The company, Red Hen Systems, uses a van that looks like something out of Ghostbusters, but what it does can save lives.

(credit: CBS)

It detects escaping methane using sophisticated equipment with cameras to pinpoint the source.

Neil Havermale is the manager of Red Hen Systems in Fort Collins.

(credit: CBS)

He told CBS4's Rick Sallinger, "We try to find dangerous events possibly prevent an explosion before they happen."

That is also the goal of Gov. John Hickenlooper's well inspection order. Reports on flow lines to more than 16,000 wells have been processed since that order. Locations are to be indicated for those within 1,000 feet of a home.

(credit: CBS)

Red Hen has been working for the government, as well as the oil and gas industry, detecting emissions of methane. Those emissions are then analyzed as cameras record the spot where the possible leaks have occurred.

Bogdan Besfamylnyy says, "Once we spot an emission we relay that information to our end user in real time through text message or phone call."

(credit: CBS)

The gases carried in the lines can be profit, but they also carry danger.

firestone house explosion (1)
(credit: CBS)

CBS4's Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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