Propane leak forces evacuations

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FORT LUPTON -- Twelve people were allowed to return home Sunday morning after a propane leak forced them to evacuate their homes near Fort Lupton High School.

The leak began around 1:15 a.m. at the DCP Midstream Plant at Weld County Roads 14 and 19. The leak sent a large vapor cloud into the sky. Fort Lupton Fire Chief Phil Tiffany said the cloud caused concern of a possible fire or an explosion.

More than 112 communication devices received a reverse 911 call to head for the high school. Tiffany said the evacuation area was one mile in all directions and two miles east of the plant. Twelve people showed up at the high school.

"After several tense hours and two entries by fire and DCP personnel, DCP personnel were able to control the leak on a relief valve on a very large propane storage vessel,." Tiffany said.

No one was injured. What caused the leak was not known Sunday night. The residents went home around 8 a.m.

"The coordinated emergency response worked very well in this matter," Tiffany said. "These types of incidents are drilled upon on a regular basis. DCP had a mock incident this summer, and Fort Lupton Fire just completed another similar exercise Tuesday night."

Tiffany also encouraged fire district residents to go to the department web site (http://www.fortluptonfire.org), click on Intrado Emergency Notification and sign up for Intrado emergency notifications.