Gas Well Blast Kills Two Workers

A gas well explosion in Indiana Township led to the deaths of two workers on July 23. The well ignited while subcontractors were welding two oil storage tanks at the site near Rich Hill Road at 9:48 a.m. The identities of the victims are unknown.

Residents living nearby described the blast as similar to a small earthquake. Thick, black smoke was visible for as far as a half a mile from the well.

Two hundred firefighters helped fight the fire, which burned for ten hours. The heat and the location of the blast site made it difficult to control the fire because waterlines were not nearby. Several tanker trucks were used and it took two miles of hosing to reach the location of the well.

Emergency officials in Allegheny County requested help from Wild Well Control Inc., a company based in Houston. Officials did not attempt to put the fire out until the specialists arrived. The specialists extinguished the fire by forcing water into the well and by displacing the gas. The specialists put the fire out at 7:45 p.m. and capped the well at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Huntley & Huntley owns the 3,500-foot-deep well which has been producing natural gas for two years. The company owns 350 gas wells in the area.