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Fire destroys maintenance building at Indiana gas well service company

| Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013, 10:07 a.m.
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
An early morning fire destroyed a maintenance building at Northeast Energy in White Township, Indiana County, on Dec. 24, 2013.

A small maintenance building at an Indiana County company that services Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas wells was destroyed by a fire that set off several explosions on Tuesday morning, according to fire officials.

Five fire companies fought the blaze in the metal structure owned by Northeast Energy in White, which broke out just before 5 a.m., said fire Chief Charles Kelly of the Indiana Borough Volunteer Fire Department.

No company employees were on the site at the time, Kelly said, and no injuries were reported.

“When we first arrived on the scene, there was smoke coming out of every nook and cranny, but there were no visible flames,” Kelly said. “A little while later, flames broke through the roof.”

Firefighters initially stood back because they knew there were acetylene and oxygen tanks in the maintenance shop, and several of them exploded, Kelly said.

Firefighters drew water from a nearby pond to supplement the supply from a nearby fire hydrant, he said.

Hazmat was on the scene, a rural area along Route 954, between Routes 422 and 119.

Firefighters used excavation equipment to pull out the seared metal walls and extinguish hot spots so the flames would not reignite, Kelly said.

A tractor-trailer inside the building was destroyed. A small concrete-block office building on the property was not damaged.

A state police fire marshal will investigate the cause.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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