Equipment failure causes fire at Washington Co. gas drilling site

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NORTH STRABANE TOWNSHIP, Pa. - A Range Resources spokesperson said an equipment failure was the cause of a fire at a gas drilling site in Washington County Wednesday evening.

Dispatchers from 911 confirmed calls came in around 5:15 p.m. for a working fire at the Jeffries drilling location near Ross Road in North Strabane Township.

Matt Pitzarella, Range Resources corporate communications and public affairs director, said EST Range and area first responders extinguished the fire shortly after 6:15 p.m.Pitzarella said the company was able to confirm that there were no injuries and that this was not a well control incident. 

The fire was a result of an equipment failure on a piece of machinery, which discharged some engine oil that caught fire along with plastic liners used for environmental prevention on the ground of the location, according to Pitzarella.

Pitzarella said Range Resources will work with regulators and first responders to investigate what occurred and “take action to best prevent future incidents from happening.” 

In addition, Pitzarella said the company is meeting with area residents who live near the drilling site.

“We very much understand, respect and appreciate the concerns that issues such as this may cause for nearby homes, and Range is currently meeting with area residents to explain what happened and to assist them with any issues this unfortunate matter may have caused,” Pitzarella said in a written statement.