Prove your humanity

Some Somerset County residents were evacuated Thursday morning after firefighters responded to a fire on a natural gas well pad.

There were no injuries. Flames and odors of gas were first reported to authorities shortly before 9 a.m., according to a Somerset County 911 incident report.

The Tribune Review cited emergency dispatchers who said several residences were evacuated as a precaution.

Personnel from Xtreme Energy, which owns the well, arrived and put out the fire, according to the report.

Investigators from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection inspected the scene at the Menhorn #2 well, and determined the wellhead itself–where gas comes out of the ground–never caught fire.

“DEP concluded that the equipment associated with the well failed and caught fire, but the wellhead was not on fire,” said Lauren Fraley, a DEP spokeswoman, in an email. Gas flowing out of the well was turned off. The cause of the fire is unknown, Fraley said. The DEP has requested that Xtreme Energy send it an explanation for the cause of the fire.

Calls to the company’s offices were not returned.

The well pad was at 2596 East Mud Pike, in Brothersvalley Township, a few miles from the town of Berlin.

The well was a Marcellus shale gas well, first drilled in 2009, Fraley said.


This story is produced in partnership with StateImpact Pennsylvania, a collaboration among The Allegheny Front, WESA, WITF and WHYY.