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Friday, February 14, 2014

'Not Your Standard Well Fire'

Friday: The Greene County well site that exploded Tuesday morning is still burning, leaving one man injured and another missing, was cited in December by the state Department of Environmental Protection for laying a production pipeline without proper permits, according to DEP data. 

Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that crews cannot even move in and finally shut down the wells that have been spewing natural gas for the past three days until they remove all the metal and equipment from the well pad--which gets superheated and acts as a match for the fire. I cannot imagine how the family of the missing worker must feel reading this sentence: 

While they're removing the metal and equipment, the crews have been keeping an eye out to see if they can locate an employee of one of the subcontractors, Cameron Surface Systems, who was working on the site when the explosion occurred. The employee has been missing since then and is feared dead.

Thursday: We'll want to keep an eye on this one:  Officials from Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection, Chevron, and the appropriately named Wild Well Control are trying to figure out how to contain and put out a massive natural gas fire that erupted at a well pad owned by Chevron on Tuesday, about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh. One worker was injured and another is missing and feared dead. 

DEP spokesman John Positer said: "Our biggest concern is the environmental impact of what they're going to do. ..This is not your standard well fire. It's bigger. We want to know what they are going to use to put out that fire and how they're going to contain it and prevent it from spreading and possibly getting into a stream."

Always interesting in these well fire stories to read, as in this AP story quoting the DEP spokesman Positer, that a site "isn't near homes or businesses and appears to pose no threat to public health." Reading the comments section of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story gives a slightly different perspective, such as Virginia Eberhart describing her house as "a little over 1,000 feet" from that well. She writes: I am all for energy independence but I can tell you that this is not anything but a nightmare to live by. My house was shaken to the core. It felt like a 747 was outside our house and the flames reflected in all the windows on the one side of the house. We felt like we were living next Mt St Helen's with tremors and booms all night long.I am all for energy independence but I can tell you that this is not anything but a nightmare to live by. My house was shaken to the core. It felt like a 747 was outside our house and the flames reflected in all the windows on the one side of the house. We felt like we were living next Mt St Helen's with tremors and booms all night long."i am allI am all for energy independence but I can tell you that this is not anything but a nightmare to live by. My house was shaken to the core. It felt like a 747 was outside our house and the flames reflected in all the windows on the one side of the house. We felt like we were living next Mt St Helen's with tremors and booms all night long.II am I "I am all for "I am I "I am ""I am "I"I am all for :I am all for "I am all "I am all for energy"I ""I am all for energy independence but I can tell you that this is not anything but a nightmare to live by. My house was shaken to the core. It felt like a 747 was outside our house and the flames reflected in all the windows of one side of the house." A Chevron spokeswoman could not estimate how long the fire might continue to burn. Updates from the Greene County Messenger here.  -- Barbara Bedway

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