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Gates At Fort Worth Natural Gas Facilities Found Opened, Raises Security Questions

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The day Melissa McDougall told the Fort Worth zoning committee she was concerned about unsecured gas facilities in the city, she expected to find the problem solved.

That afternoon, though, friends photographed gates wide open at Chesapeake Energy's Mercado compressor station, she said.

A sign on the gate says, "Keep gate locked."

Two weeks later she says she is still finding gates and doors at gas facilities open, unlocked and unsecured.

"Human error is our biggest fear here," she said. "How can they guarantee human error is not going to occur? It's occurred over and over."

McDougall took interest in the issue when Chesapeake proposed to build its largest compressor station in the Barnett Shale near her neighborhood in east Fort Worth.

CBS11 checked several facilities in the area over two days this week.

Gates were open at a well pad on Bridgewood Dr. Gates at a freshwater frac pond on Brentwood Stair Rd. appeared to have been open for several days.

The dirt and mud around the base was undisturbed. And gates were open at a compressor station on Enterprise Rd.

Zoning committee member Stephanie Spann told Chesapeake to look at the issue earlier this month when McDougall brought it up.

"You have a door that says keep the door closed and it's open. That's a big concern," she said.

Chesapeake spokesman Justin Bond said at the time it was something the company wanted to avoid.

Bond told CBS11 security is extremely important for the company, but that simply walking onto the property isn't a hazard on its own.

The heavier security focus he said is on the facilities on site. Even if doors are open cameras monitor the site 24 hours a day he said, and off-duty police patrol overnight looking for anything open or disturbed.

Over the last few days, employees have been painting a sound enclosure at one compressor and surveying a new security fence.

When contractors or staff are working on a site, Bond said, it is possible gates are left open to make coming and going easier.

He said the company does regularly train contractors on security measures.

CBS 11 did see an unidentified man in a pickup truck, locking the gate as he left a compressor, and then leaving it open when he returned.

McDougall said the procedures don't seem to be happening as regularly as they should.

"If you can't do something so minor then what can we expect in the future?" she asked.

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