By Madasyn Czebiniak, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The fire that took over a Range Resource natural gas well rig in North Strabane late Wednesday afternoon was the result of equipment failure on a piece of machinery, the Fort Worth-based drilling company said in a news release.
The fire was reported about 5:15 p.m. at Range Resource’s Elizabeth Gell rig at 257 Ross Road. A number of fire companies responded, as did the Washington County hazardous materials team.
Two state Department of Environmental Protection emergency response team members were dispatched to the site “to look it over and make sure there is no impact to the environment,” said John Poister, a spokesman with the DEP. The fire was extinguished roughly an hour after it was reported.
According to a news release from Range Resources, a piece of machinery on the well site discharged engine oil that caught fire along with plastic liners used for environmental protection on the ground of the location.
“The crews used a specialty foam designed to extinguish oil and grease fires,” the news release said. “We have confirmed that there were no injuries and that this was not a well control incident.”
Range officials are currently meeting with residents to answer questions and help with any problems the fire might have caused, the news release said.
UPDATE from Marcellus Monitor:
No one was injured Wednesday in a large fire at a well site in North Strabane Township, Washington County, operated by Range Resources – a blaze that company officials have said was likely caused by a mechanical malfunction.
“I just spoke with Dennis Degner, vice president of operations at Range Resources. I asked him about the status of the fire at a Range Resources’ well site in North Strabane tonight. He assured me that it was under control and that, according to the information he has received, it was a mechanical malfunction that caused the fire,” Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-Monongahela, said.
She also expressed her thanks to the first responders who successfully contained the fire, as well as to Range Resources officials – in advance.
“I thank Range Resources, in advance, for (its) thorough investigation into this incident,” Bartolotta said. “I look forward to receiving more information as investigation unfolds.”