PA Gas Pad Blaze Out

Wednesday, January 4, 2017 @ 10:01 AM gHale


A broken hydraulic line on a pump truck that caught fire could be the cause of a massive fire at a Washington County, PA, gas well pad Sunday, officials said.

An official with Rice Energy said a piece of equipment caught fire at the Papa Bear well pad on Lusk Road in Somerset Township, causing the four-alarm blaze.

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The fire started around 4 p.m., said Rice Energy spokeswoman Kimberly Price. At 5:34 p.m., emergency response officials confirmed the fire was under control. All personnel ended up accounted for and there were no reported injuries.

“This was not a well control incident,” Price said. “Rice Energy is currently working with state and local officials to investigate the incident and determine the cause for ignition of the pumps.”

Officials believe a hydraulic line on a pump truck burst and caught fire, but Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay said the incident remains under investigation. Workers couldn’t knock it down with an extinguisher, so they evacuated the worksite.

The Department of Environmental Protection is also investigating.

Dan Bialosky, of the DEP, said the department’s oil and gas inspector is working with the company to make sure everything is safe and the DEP’s water quality specialist is working to determine if there’s any residual contamination.

In a statement, the company said, “We are currently working with our neighbors and local officials to communicate the details of the incident and address any issues this matter may have caused.”

Six pumps ended up compromised during the fire. Rice Energy officials said no other equipment suffered damage.



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