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Hydraulic line rupture sparked Washington County drill site fire

Jason Cato
| Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, 4:24 p.m.
A fire burns at a gas well drilling site in North Strabane on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015.
WPXI
A fire burns at a gas well drilling site in North Strabane on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015.
A fire burns at a gas well drilling site in North Strabane on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015.
WPXI
A fire burns at a gas well drilling site in North Strabane on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015.
A fire burns at a gas well drilling site in North Strabane on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015.
WPXI
A fire burns at a gas well drilling site in North Strabane on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015.

A ruptured hydraulic line ignited a fire at a Washington County gas drilling site, a Range Resources spokesman said Thursday.

No one was injured in the fire Wednesday evening at the company's Jeffries drilling location off Ross Road in North Strabane.

It likely will take at least a few weeks before more detailed information is available, Range Resources spokesman Matt Pitzarella said.

“There are many hydraulic lines on locations, which is part of what we're investigating,” Pitzarella said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is investigating, agency spokesman John Poister said.

“We believe there were some factors there that need to be further explained,” Poister said. “We want to look for ways to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.”

The state investigation will determine whether any violations occurred. There is no timetable for a determination.

“They were very fortunate that there was nothing more that happened,” Poister said. “Anytime you have a fire on a well pad, it's a serious matter.”

The fire started about 5:15 p.m. and burned engine oil and plastic liners used to protect the environment from pollutants. Range Resources personnel and firefighters extinguished it within an hour by using a special foam designed to snuff out oil and grease fires.

The gas well, which is not in production, did not catch fire. No homes were evacuated.

“Range has a good protocol for dealing with fires,” Poister said.

Jason Cato is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7936 or jcato@tribweb.com.

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