CITY DESK: Cause of Bennett oil and gas-related fire unknown


AURORA | Little information released about a fire near Bennet related to oil and gas development on Sunday has inspired suspicion from neighbors who saw the smoke but could glean few details on the flames presumably south of East Quincy and Watkins roads. 

Reports first surfaced of a fire on Wednesday, Oct. 17, but public documents show the incident occurred Sunday, Oct. 14.

City officials say the Aurora Fire Department was called to the scene along with Bennet fire crews, but they played no part in fighting the fire, as it was already contained by Conoco Phillips, the site operator, when firefighters arrived.

Conoco Phillips officials said that on Oct. 14, “an equipment malfunction occurred causing oil carryover to the combustor. The automated shut-down devices on site operated as intended to shut in the well.”

 Officials said a fire started from “residual” oil and was “extinguished quickly.”

There were no injuries, officials said.

The company is investigating the cause of the incident.

“We understand 911 was called by a member of the public and the Aurora Fire Department was dispatched, but no firefighting response was required,” officials said.

Conoco Phillips officials said they notified the state health department and the state oil and gas commission.

The city requires the operator to file an incident report with the city within 48 hours of the occurrence. That report is expected to be available Monday morning. 

— KARA MASON, Staff Writer

*This story was updated to reflect accurate dates of the events.