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Blast at Ohio gas site kills one

Published: Tue, July 17, 2012 @ 12:05 a.m.

Cause of explosion, corresponding fire under investigation

Vindicator staff/wire report

Bolivar, Ohio

A man was killed Monday when a tank at a gas site exploded near a small village 13 miles south of Canton, in Tuscarawas County.

The man apparently was painting the tank at the time, said Lt. Patrick Eddy, of the Bolivar Fire Department.

When the call about the explosion first came into the fire department, it was about a distinct natural-gas smell, he said.

The well was a conventional well drilled at 5,000 feet into the Clinton formation, said Heidi Hetzel- Evans, media-relations manager for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The well was permitted in 1985 and began production in 1986. The well originally was permitted to Sherman Drilling and currently is owned by MKE Producing, she said.

The cause of the explosion and corresponding fire remains under investigation, said Shane Cartmill, public information officer for the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office.

By the time the fire department arrived, a part of the tank had been blown 125 yards away from the site by the blast, he said.

“There was already heavy smoke and heavy fire,” Eddy said.

Firefighters were able to get it under control fairly quickly, he said.

These types of explosions at oil and gas sites happen infrequently, Eddy said.

“This was a freak accident,” he said. “The last one we had was about 10 years ago.”

The investigation of what caused the explosion has been turned over to the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office and the office of the Ohio Fire Marshal, Eddy said.

An employee at a nearby group home said he felt the ground start to shake and looked toward the oil well. He said the cover of a storage tank shot about 100 feet into the air, and fuel leaked down a driveway and into a field, according to an Associated Press report.

Dr. James Hubert, Tuscarawas County Coroner, said the death appears accidental but his investigation is continuing. Cathy Clarke, coroner’s investigator, also was on the scene.

Hubert said the identity of the victim won’t be released until after family members are notified. Reports of a second fatality attributed to a municipal official were incorrect.

It will probably be a few days before the origin of the blast is known, Cartmill said.

“We’re treating it as an industrial fire at this point,” he said.

The fire marshal’s office is also working with the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration in the investigation.


1FormerRes(39 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

I worked Oil and Gas well drilling and completions for 5 years in California and Wyoming before deciding that college was a better option. Saw the results of a few explosions during that time, people badly burned and 1 killed, Most times, it wasn't your own carelessness that got you, it was someone else untrained in the proper procedures, or cutting corners that couldn't be cut.

Always sad to lose someone to work.

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2JquanJigabooJohnson(5 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Since they've began drilling for resources in this area, as well as disposing of the chemical byproduct through fracking, we've seen dozens of stories like this. The people out there protesting are labeled crazies, and the idiots who sit back and let it happen are, well, idiots.

At some point, and hopefully sooner than later, more people will have to wake up and realize that this is a short term solution to a long term problem. With increases in spills, accidents, explosions, etc., it is becoming clearer that this technology has major faults, and with that, raises concerns to the safety of the residents who drink from the contaminated water, farm the spoiled land, and deal with the dangers associated with oil/gas/frack wells.

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3barackwillfixit(5 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

@jquan This well was drilled almost 30 years ago. It is a conventional well and has nothing to do with shale drilling or hydraulic fracking.

Too many people are quick to become part of the "since they've began drilling for resources in this area" club and the "technology has major faults" clubs. Hogwash!

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4CongressWatcher(218 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

@barackwillfixit - Too many people are too quick to try and separate parts of the industry as if they are not related....

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