About 10 and a half hours after an explosion at a natural gas well in Indiana Township, Allegheny County, firefighters extinguished the intense blaze. A team of oil and gas well firefighting experts were flown in from Texas to help put out the fire which was being fueled by natural gas. The explosion killed two workers but a third member of the crew was not injured.
Allegheny County Emergency Management Chief Bob Full says firefighters first tried using foam on the fire but then brought in water tanker trucks.
3 firefighters were taken to the hospital for treatment of heat-related problems due to temperatures in the low 90's compounded by the intensity of the fire.
A spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says the workers had been welding equipment at the site of the gas well.
DEP spokeswoman Helen Humphreys told DUQ News that the gas well was 2 years old, a shallow well of about 3,500 feet in depth and was operated by Huntley and Huntley of Monroeville. The well is on property owned by the Rosedale Sportsmen's Association. That company operates about 350 gas wells in the Pittsburgh area. Humphreys says fortunately this well was located in a rural area with few nearby residents.
County officials continue to investigate the explosion and fire.