Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Greene County explosion kills one, injures one, continues to burn

The gas well explosion just north of Bobtown near Dunkard Township in rural Greene County has caught national attention. The explosion at the Chevron facility has cost one man his life and left another injured.

The well exploded around 6:45 a.m. Tuesday morning and the fire remains burning with no timetable for it to be completely extinguished. The people from Dunkard, a small town just north of the West Virginia border, about 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, said they heard a loud boom and speculated that it was anything from a plane crash to their hot water tank exploding.

A spokesperson from Chevron has told reporters that the company's plan is to control the well by shutting off its flow of natural gas and following other procedures to keep the remaining two wells from also catching fire. In addition, Chevron has said that they will be monitoring air, water, and noise pollution in the area, but that it has found no risk to the public thus far.

State officials say the fire may last for days or even weeks, depending on how much gas is in the deposit, delaying the vast efforts to ultimately extinguish it. People on the scene say that the flames have gotten smaller compared to Tuesday morning's fire bursts, but that is still no indication of a thorough timetable.

Chevron ordered a company out of Houston that specializes in extinguishing gas well fires to aid in first responders' efforts. They arrived in Greene County early Tuesday evening and have been working in shifts to keep the blaze from spreading to the other two flanking pads.

While no official report has been given as to the cause of the fire, it is known that well workers were connecting the well to a network of pipes so as to carry gas from that site to the other pads. It is well known amongst people in the industry that upon doing this type of work, welding and other "hot work" is done so that there aren't any gas leaks. A spark from welding may have caused the explosion, but that is purely speculation as of now. More information should be available within the next few days.

Source: Trib Live, "Chevron doesn't know how long gas well fire in Greene County could rage" 12 February 2014

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