• Fire at Washington County gas well site remains under investigation

    Updated:
    Officials are still trying to find out what sparked a massive fire at a Washington County gas well pad on Sunday. 
     
    An official with Rice Energy said a piece of equipment caught fire at the Papa Bear well pad on Lusk Road in Somerset Township,  causing the four-alarm blaze.
     
    Washington County 911 officials had initially told Channel 11 that there was an explosion at the site. However, a Rice Energy spokesperson said equipment caught fire and there was no explosion.
     
    In a statement, Rice Energy spokeswoman Kimberly Price said the fire started around 4 p.m. At 5:34 p.m., emergency response officials confirmed the fire was under control. All personnel were accounted for and there were no reported injuries. 
     
    "This was not a well control incident," Price said in the statement. "Rice Energy is currently working with state and local officials to investigate the incident and determine the cause for ignition of the pumps."
     
    Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay said the incident remains under investigation, but officials believe a hydraulic line on a pump truck burst and caught fire. Workers couldn't knock it down with an extinguisher, so they evacuated the worksite. 
     
    The Department of Environmental Protection is also investigating. 
     
    Dan Bialosky, of the DEP, said the department's oil and gas inspector is working with the company to make sure everything is safe and the DEP's water quality specialist is working to determine if there's any residual contamination.
     
    In a statement, the company said, "We are currently working with our neighbors and local officials to communicate the details of the incident and address any issues this matter may have caused."
     
    Six pumps were compromised during the fire. Rice Energy officials said no other equipment was damaged. 
     

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