Explosion at Fracking Well Sparks Fire Set to Rage for Days

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Common Dreams

Explosion at Fracking Well Sparks Fire Set to Rage for Days

Incident took place at Chevron-operated well in southwestern Pennsylvania

by
Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Screengrab from WTRF 7 video showing flames from the fracking well explosion.

An explosion at a natural gas fracking well in Pennsylvania on Tuesday has sent one person to the hospital, left one person injured and sparked a fire that could take days to contain.

According to a statement from well operator Chevron, the fire broke out at approximately 6:45 Tuesday morning at their well in Dunkard Township in Greene County, about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh.

"We're being told ... the site itself, that fire, will not be contained and we will not have access to that property for at least a few days," Trooper Stefani Plume said at a press conference.

Local ABC affiliate WTAE reports:

[Department of Environmental Protection spokesman John] Poister said Chevron had previously completed drilling and hydraulically fracturing, or fracking, the well and was in the final stages of using steel pipe to hook it up to a pipeline distribution network for production.

Complicating the fire, which continued to burn into the afternoon, was the fact that a propane-holding truck was on the well pad and also exploded, Poister said.

The cause of the explosion has not yet been determined.

A team from Wild Well Control, a company that specializes in dealing with well blowouts, has been called in to assist with the efforts, and state police have set up a half mile perimeter as a safety precaution.

Responding to the incident on Twitter, some environmental voices said the explosion was further evidence fracking should be banned:

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