Gypsum fiber project on ‘indefinite hold’ after natural gas leak levels home,

The site of an explosion in the Chatfield Corners neighborhood in Gypsum on Saturday. The blast occurred Sept. 17 and killed one person.
John LaConte / Vail Daily

Officials in Gypsum have halted underground boring work in the wake of a natural gas explosion last week that claimed the life of a Gypsum woman.

On Monday evening, the town issued an official statement.

“Thursday’s (Sept. 17) natural gas accident was a tragedy for the entire community of Gypsum. None more so than the family directly affected, who suffered an unbearable loss. Our hearts go out to this family and they will need our community’s love, affection and support going forward.” 

The statement noted that many residents are experiencing stress and anxiety and “the community’s confidence in the excavation work necessary to complete the Comcast fiber project has been shattered by Thursday’s incident.”

“Please know that the town of Gypsum has put the fiber project on an indefinite hold for now.”

The statement notes that the town plans to convene all of the project partners and take whatever time is necessary to assess the current operational procedures.

“Time will be spent evaluating what additional protocols and safeguards can be established to ensure the safety of the project and our residents when it eventually resumes. Once that operational plan is developed, the town will bring all the relevant companies together for a public meeting to share this plan before the project continues,” the statement notes. 

Town officials also advised residents that today, Sept. 22, Comcast’s subcontractors have been authorized to retrieve any equipment present in neighborhoods around town. “These subcontractors will not be doing any work, they will only be collecting equipment and returning it to storage,” the town advised. 

Because their electric and natural gas service was interrupted for an extended period, the town has arranged for Chatfield Corners residents to request additional trash pickup for spoiled food from Town of Gypsum Trash Services. The pick-ups will be available on Tuesday or Wednesday. This service will be offered free of charge. To make your request, please email or call 970-524-3121.
The town added that the fiber project is “a substantial investment in critical infrastructure that will serve our growing community and meet the technological needs of our businesses and residents for decades to come.” 
“In the meantime, we know that members of the community have many questions and concerns related to this incident.”

Safety tips

As part of its statement, the town of Gypsum included the following safety information: 

  • Citizens who have continued questions about the impact of the incident and the safety of their gas service are encouraged to contact Black Hills Energy at 1-888-890-5554.
  • Questions about the emergency response should be directed to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, Gypsum Fire Protection District and Black Hills Energy.

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