State regulators hit Occidential Petroleum with an $18,5 million fine Monday for a 2017 explosion that destroyed a single family home in Firestone, Colorado, killing two people and injuring two others.
A National Transportation Safety Board investigation traced the cause to the ignition of unodorated natural gas that migrated from a nearby gas well via a pipeline that had not been properly secured.
The penalty is the maximum dollar amount possible and included an aggravating factor of death, a press release issued by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission states.
“Because of the loss of lives, this is the largest penalty ever by COGCC, by more than 11 times,” the release states.
At the time of the April 2017 explosion a resident and a plumber were replacing a water heater in the basement of the home. Both were killed in the blast.
The NTSB report also cited local authorities for allowing construction on land adjacent to a gas production field without complete documentation from the operator on the location and status of pipelines.
Money from the penalty will go into “The Mark Martinez and Joey Irwin Memorial Public Projects Fund” to honor those killed in the blast.