Fran Hoylman is walking three small dogs — two of them hers, one her daughter’s — along a familiar path in her Firestone neighborhood.
She takes a right, heading west. Within a few strides, she passes an oil and gas well, now capped. Continuing along the sidewalk, her path is marked every few feet by small yellow flags bearing the words “Anadarko gas line.” They dot a strip of fresh grass bordered by a wooden fence, constructed in recent months after a methane leak.
A turn around the corner and a few more minutes, and Hoylman stops by a vacant lot. To the right, an intact, brown house, also empty, has been blackened by fire.
This is where, one year ago, a basement full of deadly gas ignited. The resulting explosion killed two men, brothers-in-law Mark Martinez and Joey Irwin, and injured Erin Martinez, Mark’s wife and Joey’s sister.
The April 17, 2017, incident has set off a storm of its own, inciting activist passion, industry concern and a sweeping set of new regulations. For the first time, it seemed, the dire predictions of anti-fracking activists had come to terrible fruition: Innocent men had been killed, victims of the unrelenting progress of oil and gas development amid a continually expanding population.
But here on Twilight Avenue, things are quiet.
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