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Regional

4 hurt in natural gas plant explosion in Washington County

Chuck Biedka
| Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, 8:45 p.m.
Monroeville's Inaugural CommUNITY Day was presented by the Monroeville Foundation and Forbes Hospital, Allegheny Health Network, in celebration of the hospital's 40th anniversary in the community. On Saturday, July 28 Monroeville Community Park West was the site of a party filled with fun and activities for all ages, including craft vendors, food trucks and inflatables for kids. The AHN LifeFlight helicopter and crew paid a visit to the event, giving demonstrations  of the lifesaving equipment they have on board.  Lillian DeDomenic  |  For The Tribune Review
Monroeville's Inaugural CommUNITY Day was presented by the Monroeville Foundation and Forbes Hospital, Allegheny Health Network, in celebration of the hospital's 40th anniversary in the community. On Saturday, July 28 Monroeville Community Park West was the site of a party filled with fun and activities for all ages, including craft vendors, food trucks and inflatables for kids. The AHN LifeFlight helicopter and crew paid a visit to the event, giving demonstrations of the lifesaving equipment they have on board. Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune Review

Four people were flown from a Washington County tank explosion at a natural gas processing plant.

The four were flown to Pittsburgh hospitals for treatment of burns.

Washington County 911 said the four were burned in the blast just after 6 p.m. at the MarkWest facility in Chartiers Township at 800 Western Ave. near the community of Houston.

There was no evacuation and the resulting fire was put out, the 911 supervisor said.

The blast involved a chemical used in natural gas processing.

The explosion involved at least one tank holding 14,000 gallons of the processing chemical, according to 911.

According to the MarkWest web site, MarkWest, a wholly owned subsidiary of MPLX LP. It is owned by Marathon Petroleum Co.

MarkWest gathers, processes and transports natural gas as well as transportation and storage of chemicals related to fracking.

Marathon corporate spokesman Jamal Kheiry said in a statement to the Tribune-Review that the incident happened near “two temporary tanks that were onsite for routine maintenance.”

The blast resulted in a fire in the aboveground tanks.

“Although the processing plant was not involved in the incident, it was shut down as a precaution and at this time there are no offsite impacts,” Kheiry said. “Agency notifications have been made, and an investigation into the cause of this event is underway.

“Our prayers are with our injured colleagues and their families,” Kheiry said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection had four emergency response staff respond to the incident, said Lauren Fraley, a DEP spokeswoman.

She said DEP will also be on site Friday morning to follow up.

“At this time the environmental impacts appear to be limited to the use of fire fighting foam used to extinguish the fire,” she said. “The foam has been contained and DEP observed no impacts to waterways.”

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, cbiedka@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.

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