After Tuesday morning's explosion and fire at a natural gas well near the West Virginia border, a worker remains missing. Between 20 and 30 workers were at the property at the time of the explosion.
The natural gas well is owned by the Chevron Corporation and located in the 600-block of Bald Hill Church Road in Dunkard Township.
While one worker was hospitalized for the minor injuries he sustained, another is unaccounted for. No identities have been released yet.
According to a statement issued by Chevron, "Chevron's primary concern at this point is to contain the fire and ensure the safety of its employees, contractors and the surrounding community."
Chevron's efforts include shutting off the flow of natural gas and protecting the other wells. The company also flew a Wild Well Control team from Houston to Pittsburgh after the explosion. Chevron is still trying to determine how the explosion occurred and why. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be investigating the well explosion.
According to Chevron, "At this point we have no indications that this incident has created any safety risk." The well is located in a rural area with no homes or schools in the immediate vicinity. State police have also established a half-mile perimeter around the well.
Current State of the Fire
The natural gas well has continued to burn and state environmental officials and firefighters have been brought in by Chevron to monitor the fire. According to the State Department of Environmental Protection, the fire may continue to burn for days.
Crews report that the intensity of the flames is keeping them from getting too close to the well. An operations manager for Pacific Processing Systems described the fire as "out of control." It could be several days before the fire-suppression crew can gain access to the fire.
State police have been interviewing workers who were at the scene and escaped unharmed. U.S. Senator Bob Casey said:
"I've repeatedly encouraged the administration and companies to make the safety of pipelines and gas wells a priority. Moving forward it's critical that all stakeholders increase their vigilance and oversight of these issues in order to better protect public safety."
For more information on the Greene Co. gas well explosion and for updates on the missing worker, be sure and check back with our blog.