Chief calls for more training after gas well fire

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WKBN) – After an explosion and gas well fire in Mercer County Friday night, a local fire chief said he would like to see more emergency training targeted for these types of situations.

Jefferson Township Fire Chief Justin Barnes said about 14 fire departments responded to the gas well fire at the Jefferson McGhee well on Pew Rd. It is still unknown how 84,000 gallons of oil burst into flames just after 8 p.m. Friday.

Barnes said emergency crews worked as a team using about 45,000 gallons of water and 330 gallons of foam to fight the fire. Moving forward, he said he would like to see gas companies and emergency responders train for these types of fires with gas wells.

“I would just like to see more cooperation between fire and any public safety agency and the gas companies to do more with prevention and initial action on oil fires that may occur in the future,” Barnes said.

Barnes said this is the first large-scale gas well fire that has happened in Mercer County.

Hilcorp Energy Company released a statement Saturday saying they are investigating what caused the incident. The statement said the appropriate local and state authorities were notified right away and first responders showed up quickly.

No one was injured in the fire that lasted about 45 minutes.

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