Friday, June 17, 2016

Two injured in fire

By Will Bublitz

An explosion rocked the Loaf ‘N Jug convenience store on Hugo’s main street last Friday, June 10 as one of its gas pumps went up in flames.


Two people at the gas pump were injured in the explosion and fire. They were rushed to nearby Lincoln Community Hospital for treatment.

“The initial 911 call came in at 12:44 p.m.,” said Capt. Michael Yowell of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. “We then had multiple 911 calls come in about the gas pump fire.”

Firefighters, rescue crews and vehicles from the Hugo Fire & Ambulance, Limon Fire Department, Limon Ambulance and Genoa Fire & Rescue were dispatched to the scene.

Before any of them arrived, Lincoln County Sheriff’s personnel as well as other county employees rushed to the Loaf ‘N Jug to provide assistance.

“They were at the annual County Employees Picnic being held outside the courthouse when we heard the explosion and the 911 calls came in,” Yowell said. “After we got there, the Public Health Office’s nurses triaged and assessed those injured at the scene. Members of the Lincoln County Detention staff assisted the State Patrol in handling traffic on Highway 40/287. The highway was closed for about 15 minutes.”

The Hugo firefighters arrived within minutes of the explosion. They were able to quickly extinguish the flames using fire-suppression foam.

“Immediately after the explosion, the Loaf ‘N Jug employees activated the emergency fuel stop to the pumps,” Yowell said. “Shortly after that, electricity was cut to both to the pumps and store. The convenience store’s employees and customers were evacuated from the building until after the fire was extinguished.”

A man and a woman from the Matheson area, who were injured in the explosion and fire, were treated and released later that same day from Lincoln Community Hospital.

A initial investigation by the Hugo Marshal’s Office believed the explosion resulted from static electric igniting gasoline fumes, but further examination has led its officers to believe there may be another cause.

“It’s still under investigation,” Chief Marshal Jesse Schier said. “I’ve contacted the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and discussed the incident with its fire safety investigator. He suggested contacting the Colorado Division of Oil & Fire Safety to request assistance. Hopefully, one of their investigators will be here later this week.”

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