This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A partial downsizing of an evacuation area around a burning eastern Utah oil rig was allowing some Roosevelt families to return to their homes Friday for the first time in three days.
Chip Minty, spokesman for the Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy, said that 12 families in all had left their homes originally when the rig 1.5 miles north of Roosevelt caught fire early Tuesday morning. The Duchesne County Sheriff's Office evacuated residents living within a half-mile radius of the site.
"It's still burning and our oil well firefighting experts are still on the site working toward capping the well and regaining control of the site," Minty said Friday. "But some of the residents are being allowed to return as the evacuation area is now down to a quarter-mile [radius]."
As of Friday, there was no estimated time for when the crack team of oil well firefighters might put out the flames.
The fire was quickly contained to the drilling rig area on Tuesday, but fears about the release of hydrogen sulfide gas prompted the decision to evacuate the immediate area. The cause of the fire remained undetermined.
The blaze was reported about 12:10 a.m. Tuesday. Drilling crews had recently completed sinking a well shaft when there was a release of oil and gas that then ignited.