The Denver Post - December
Boulder County’s First Hydraulic Fracturing Well Site Destroyed in Fiery Explosion
The FBI is offering a $750,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of an unknown number of suspects in the explosion of a large hydraulic fracturing drilling site in Boulder County, Colorado. No deaths or injuries have been reported. According to statements from the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department, multiple local, state and federal agencies cooperated in fire suppression and are working together in the investigation. Authorities have asked that witnesses with information please contact the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department or FBI field office in Denver. The site was the first to be drilled after county commissioners lifted the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing applications in Boulder County Open Spaces.
Investigators have determined that a diesel pickup truck was driven at high speed directly into the wellhead and drill tower, causing a large explosion heard by witnesses as far as 20 miles away. Firefighting crews were unable to extinguish the flames, some reaching 150 feet into the air, for nearly two days. The fiery inferno was not extinguished until specialty teams from Texas arrived with explosives designed to suffocate wellhead blazes. Little remains of the truck that was driven into the drill tower, and investigators have not determined the type of explosive material used in the blast.
State authorities have determined that the owner of the truck used to blow up the fracking site is Mr. Keith Sutton of Greeley. Sutton is the mayor of Greeley and also the current chairman of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Mr. Sutton claims that he and his wife were leaving a party in Boulder (ironically they were celebrating the first drill site on Boulder public lands) when his truck was stolen.
The commissioner reported that an unknown voice came over the vehicle’s sound system and commanded them to exit their vehicle before it detonated at the conclusion of a ten second countdown. The voice began counting down through the truck’s sound system, and the couple fled the vehicle for their lives. Both claim that the truck drove off without a driver at the wheel and that the stereo system was blaring loud music. The commissioner’s wife, Mrs. Tamara (Tam) Sutton, who is also the president of the University of Northern Colorado, declined any further comment.
The Boulder County Sheriff’s Department said in a press conference yesterday that a lack of evidence continues to hamper the investigation. The magnitude of the wellhead explosion and the ensuing fire left little of the truck intact; parts of the vehicle were found as far as 300 meters away.
A first-responder photograph taken approximately 12 minutes after the explosion was analyzed to determine the vehicle’s license plate number and owner. Investigators have revealed that the letters ADOG were crudely written on the grime-covered license plate. Officials believe the culprit(s) may have written the word on the license plate before the truck was driven at high speed into the wellhead.
Over the course of the 46 hour battle with the raging fire, the letters could not be distinguished any longer due to the intense heat, the high volume of flame retardant, and the last explosion used to suffocate the fire at the wellhead. Investigators could not confirm that the word ADOG on the license plate might be related to the suspect(s), to Mr. Sutton, or any of his associates.
If you have any information related to the bombing of the Boulder County wellhead facility, please contact the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department or FBI field office in Denver.
Yes, it’s true, we blew it sky high.
Miles away, in a dimly-lit office at the Engineering Center at the University of Colorado, three graduate students clinked open Odell’s IPA bottles as Big Head Todd and the Monsters wailed the John Lee Hooker song, Boom Boom. They had successfully hijacked the commissioner’s truck by remote control.
The driverless truck travelled unnoticed to its designated rendezvous with their mercenary friend three miles from wellhead. He filled the truck with explosives before grinning and inscribing “ADOG” across the dirt-encrusted license plate.
The truck’s speedometer reading at the time of impact was approximately twice the speed of a hound, or about 84 miles per hour. They never saw, heard or felt the ferocity of the fiery explosion from the safety of their professor’s office where they danced euphorically to the music, pumping their fists, unable to contain their glee:
Boom Boom Boom Boom!
Bang Bang Bang Bang!
I’m gonna shoot you right down
Right offa your feet
A-Haw Haw Haw Haw!
Not exactly the stuff of puppy play: blowing up the first drilling site on Boulder County Open Space. What could possibly motivate these young men to commit themselves to such a high standard of duty in public service and community outreach?
Good question. I just as well tell you the reasons.