A Wednesday morning flash fire burned four contractors working on maintenance at the ConocoPhillips Lost Cabin natural gas processing plant in central Wyoming, the company said.
Three workers were so badly burned at the plant near Lysite that they were flown from the site by helicopter for medical care.
Two workers were taken to Wyoming Medical Center in Casper and one to a Greeley, Colo., burn center, said Capt. Ryan Lee of the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office. An ambulance took the fourth worker to Riverton Memorial Hospital, he said.
The fire took place at 8:30 a.m. and was “immediately extinguished,” ConocoPhillips spokeswoman Davy Kong said in an email.
The plant didn’t release gas and no one in the local community was evacuated, she said. All of the plant’s personnel were accounted for, and the plant was evacuated except for critical response personnel.
Kong declined to identify the injured workers.
“Work on the maintenance project has been suspended, and an investigation will begin immediately to determine the cause of the incident,” she said.
A Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration representative said inspectors were on the site Wednesday but had no other comment.
Lee, of the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, said helicopters were marshaled from Casper, Pinedale and Riverton to transport the burned workers.
The plant had been idle since Aug. 1 for planned maintenance, a Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality spokesman told the Reuters news service.
An explosion and fire destroyed part of the plant in 2010, triggering an early morning computerized call to residents warning them to evacuate the area. There were no injuries in the fire, which originated in the second of three processing units, or trains.
The Lost Cabin plant strips carbon dioxide and sulfur compounds, specifically hydrogen sulfide, from natural gas out of deep natural wells in the Lysite area. It was placed into operation in 1995 and expanded in 1998 and 1999.
The plant can process up to 313 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, according to a 2011 filing by the company with Wyoming environmental regulators.
The plant is operated by ConocoPhillips-owned Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Co. Houston-based ConocoPhillips owns a 46 percent working interest in the plant, according to the company’s website. The company’s natural gas operations in the state span 1.1 million acres.