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Fracking accident leaves 1 dead, 2 injured in Colorado

Fracking accident leaves 1 dead, 2 injured in Colorado
Homes in the Windsor Hills neighborhood of unincorporated L.A. County overlook the Inglewood Oil Field. A report found that 3.5 million people in L.A. County live within a mile of an oil well. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The rupture of a pipe at a Colorado fracking site left one Halliburton employee dead and two seriously injured Thursday morning, law enforcement and company officials said.

Workers were trying to warm a frozen pipe at a site near Fort Lupton, Colo., about 30 miles north of Denver, when it burst around 9:30 a.m., Sgt. Sean Stanridge, public information officer for the Weld County Sheriff's Office, told the Los Angeles Times.

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One person died at the scene and the injured were taken to area hospitals. One underwent surgery, and both are expected to survive, Stanridge said.

The industrial site is operated by Anadarko Petroleum Corp., and Halliburton employees are contracted to work on the grounds, Anadarko spokesman John Christiansen said.

"This is a very difficult time for all of us at Halliburton, and we are working with local authorities as they look into the details of this incident," the company said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with our employees' loved ones."

A Halliburton spokeswoman declined to say how long the site had been in operation, or whether there had been any other accidents there.

Stanridge said all fracking pads in the area had been shut down for safety reasons. He declined to identify the victim.

Fracking, a controversial method of harvesting gas and oil, involves injecting high-pressure mixtures of water, sand, gravel and chemicals into a well to crack open rock formations. Environmental groups have contended the practice taints drinking water supplies and can increase the likelihood of earthquakes in certain areas.

This month, voters approved bans on fracking in parts of California, Ohio and Texas. The Los Angeles City Council also voted to begin drafting rules that would ban fracking here in February.

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