Oak Creek man arrested on suspicion of arson, trespass


A 30-year-old Oak Creek man was arrested Monday on suspicion of felony fourth-degree arson related to an Aug. 6 incident near Phippsburg.

According to an affidavit filed with Routt County Court, Michael Calvin Martindale is suspected of starting a fire that caused an explosion within 10 feet of an 18,000-gallon propane storage tank at a remote fill station on Routt County Road 15.

Martindale was released from custody after posting $10,000 bond. Martindale did not want to talk about the case Tuesday and referred questions to his attorney, Kris Hammond.

“When I know more, I may be in a position to talk about it,” Hammond said.

The Routt County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the incident after a Phippsburg resident reported hearing an explosion.

Witnesses were interviewed by the Sheriff’s Office. They told deputies that Martindale climbed over a fence near the tank, picked up what was thought to have been a five-gallon container of liquid methyl alcohol, climbed back over the fence and poured some of the liquid onto the ground, the affidavit states. A witness reported seeing Martindale ignite the liquid on the ground, which ignited the can in his hand, causing an explosion. The fire spread to Martindale’s hand and pants as well as a small area of grass, the affidavit states. The fires were stamped out by the witnesses.

Martindale also was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor criminal trespass and criminal mischief. He is due to appear in court at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.


Cooke 5 years, 4 months ago

What a fine, upstanding member of the South Routt community this guy must be! What the heck is wrong with folks? Lighting explosive chemicals around 18,000 gallon propane tanks -- very easily could have turned into another South Routt explosion like the one that killed the teenager smoking on top of a functioning oil drilling rig.


kathy foos 5 years, 4 months ago

Cooke and fishcreek=Dumb and Dumber.One teen is my son that died,he was sitting on the tank holding his dog,it was a TANK ,in an unsigned,unfenced oil facility,at a party,(the rig is still there ,dumb,)and the well operation was not functioning at the time,He was not proven to be smoking, he was sitting on the side holding his dog.Dumb(,I mean Cooke) did you ever consider educating yourself about a situation before you go blasting a dead teen ?By the way "Mr know it all",the absolute cause of that oil tank explosion was never proven, a gun was found on the ground.If you dont know what the heck happened somewhere,and my kid died at that event,you best shut the hell up.Those teens are not here to defend themselves that died,your mouthing off is easy ,the kids died,didnt cause the explosion like you infer.fish creek,you for sure cannot fix stupid.


Cooke 5 years, 4 months ago

Sorry to offend you Sun. I never called your son "dumb" (as you just called me multiple times). I heard my side of that story from some pretty reliable sources. Plus, I have been to that rig. Fenced or unfenced, signed or unsigned, if you have functioning eyeballs, it is an oil rig. There are tanks. Oil is flammable. Seems like an obviously dangerous place to be doing anything.


cheesehead 5 years, 4 months ago

This story is about a guy who tried to start an explosion. This has nothing to do with the teenagers that passed in a tragic accident. Let it go.


greenwash 5 years, 4 months ago

I hear Cal plans on running for Mayor of Oak Creek ...go figure.


kathy foos 5 years, 4 months ago

I apologize to you Cooke and Fishcreek.I get really stupid with anger to hear the oil tank explosion in 2007 where my son died ,compared with this seperate incident ,I have read comments about it that would curl your hair in newspapers all over the country when this story hit the papers.You can read them yourself on the internet if you type in Sam Hedemark,2007,oil tank explosion two teens killed.Local comments were one thing but some were just so sick from people all over the place in my opinion anyway.Why not read them yourself and see what you think?Why post negative things anyway that are not adding information,hear say and inuendo,it is dumb to do that,but not your fault about oil companys need to sign and fence facilitys from the public. I don't blame people for not being able to make informed opinion as to the accident with all the facts,it took me pushing to find out anything at all.One main thing that would have prevented this accident at the tank is signs and fences and protecttions for the public.Why some sites don't do it on their own is beyond me,its tax deductable for the oil companys.They don't care about anything but themselves.There were half hearted laws rarely inforced and the well is on forest (Medicine Bow) land .they get the money for the lease.not safety over site.,these wells are from the 50s,BLM inforced safety occassionaly(I got the records,but mostly no one cared to fence of even in the naional Forest,hunting and shooting is allowed there.Rio Blanco Law enforcemnent,so it was a place kids hung out over the many years.See the CSB video,"no place to hang out" about 2 teens died in 2008 same way,there are over 44 and the count grows all the time,Many more Teens and young adults have been injured .So now there are new laws in Colorado and Ohio, for signing and fencing off ,we should be proud of that,I didn't want any more dumb kids to get hurt or killed like mine.It sucks to say the least to have your kid killed in this way.I have bitched every where I could think of for the last four years to change it.Its great to know it will get better but for people to not know the danger is annoying anmd give me the stupid burden of having to write this stupid comment to tell you.Hopefully the Commish can make these oil companys do what the public voters want and make sure these laws get obeyed that protect everyone in the public anlong with the wildlife and forest ,water. Hopefully any new facilitys would be fenced.Tall fences that are chain link with big signs.Something like ,get the heck away this thing will blow you to kingdom come.Thats what happens,why not state it?Somehow drunk and drinking people do really dumb things around facilitys,not that it should be ,but the reality.


sledneck 5 years, 3 months ago

I understand Kathy's frustration in light of her personal loss. I can sense it in many of her comments here and elsewhere. I believe it is reasonable to ask that installations such as these be fenced off and signed.

However, it is also reasonable to expect people to be responsible for themselves; and if those people (kids, mentally impaired, alzheimers patients, etc) are not capable of making sound judgements about oil rigs, train tracks, highway crossings, thin ice, loaded weapons, etc, then they should be continually supervised by those who claim to have their best interests at heart. One can not simultaneously say "that was an innocent child, unaware of the danger" and "I let them wander hither and yon but I am in no way responsible..." Can't have it both ways.

As parents, we are to teach our childern to think and be responsible for themselves. This impartation of knowledge comes at considerable expense of both time and frustration. Only when that job is completed properly can we consider ourselves absolved of responsibility for that young person. Until then, turning someone loose is akin to inflicting that persons ignorance and folly on all of society. Allowing someone you are responsible for to roam into their own destruction while knowing that person had no idea of the danger they were getting into does not constitute malice or even negligence on the part or some third party (such as an oil driller). Oil company bosses do not wake up every morning thinking of how they might circumvent or avoid safety precautions. Ditto for railroads, weapons manufacturers.

Society can not put signs and fences around all of lifes pitfalls. Nor should it.

"The ultimate consequence of protecting men from the pain of their folly is to fill the world with fools."


Colette Erickson 5 years, 3 months ago

Wow, Sled, I agree with you (scary). PS - Kathy, intentional intoxication is not a defense to anything, and a drunk (as well as many others, e.g., teenagers, etc.) would probably climb the fence, anyway.


trump_suit 5 years, 3 months ago

As a youth, we climbed many fences meant to keep the public away from things. As teenagers, we figured they were trying to keep us away from the good stuff.

Sled is correct in this: We should teach our children to make responsible decisions and to be aware of consequences "BEFORE" they may occur. If you can give your child only one lesson in life, the ability to think things thru might be a wise choice, but how many of us believe that most teenagers will ever have that skill?

What is wrong with Kathy's crusade? It was a mother with a similar loss that started a small organization known as MADD. She changed an entire countries perception of the risks of DUI. I say go get em' Kathy fight the fight and never give an inch.


Scott Wedel 5 years, 3 months ago

BTW, this big propane tank is not really considered a hazard. The fencing is more to protect the equipment than to protect the public from a hazard.

Even if a fire had been started under the tank then it is designed to vent the gas before the tank explodes. And propane needs oxygen to burn so the propane in the tank will not explode if there is a fire outside. And the venting propane can catch fire and be dramatic, but it is all designed to not result in an explosion.

The tragic 2007 explosion was a different situation because that area was a known party spot and it was not seen as a dangerous spot any longer. The owner was not so concerned about the risks to install barbed wire and such fencing to prevent others from hanging around the equipment.

And one thing I've learned from Kathy is that this sort of tank explosion happens periodically around the country. That these tanks are more dangerous than they appear.


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.