Gas drilling odor causes concerns among Girard, Youngstown residents


A natural-gas drilling company that hit an unexpected gas pocket at 10 p.m. Friday night near V&M Star sent a non-toxic cloud of fumes into the air on Youngstown’s North Side, East Side and into the City of Girard.

“It wasn’t toxic. It was just an irritant,” said Silverio Caggiano, battalion chief with the Youngstown Fire Department and deputy chief of the Mahoning County Hazardous Materials team.

“Some things smell long before it can hurt you,” Caggiano said.

A crew from D&L Energy was drilling for gas on V&M property near the former Sharp Lumber property on U.S. Route 422 near the Youngstown-Girard line when the rig hit the pocket at about 4,000 feet down, Caggiano said.

The rig was vertical drilling, not horizontal drilling for Marcellus Shale, Caggiano noted.

The company didn’t have the right mixture of solids, liquids and brine water — known as slurry — to prevent the fumes from coming out of the well, and the fumes were released into the atmosphere, Caggiano said.

Because of the humid conditions, the smell hung over the Brier Hill area and spread south and north, resulting in numerous calls to 911 through the night from residents wondering what the smell was.

The smells also alarmed employees at St. Elizabeth Health Center.

For the full story, read Sunday's Vindicator or

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