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DEP Details Cause Of Fatal Greene Co. Gas Well Fire

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Department of Environmental Protection has released their findings about the cause of a fatal gas well fire in Greene County earlier this year.

The well exploded on Feb. 11, killing 27-year-old Ian Robert McKee.

According to a statement from the DEP, "possible human error and a failed screw and nut assembly as factors that allowed gas to escape the well and led to the fire."

"Basically, what you have here is an assembly where you have a bolt and a lock nut and it has to be tightened to a certain torque and a certain level. If that's not done and it comes under pressure, it's going to loosen and then eventually, let go. That's what happened," John Poister, of the DEP, said. "There's supposed to be an experienced person working with a relatively inexperienced person. In this case, the person who was experienced was not necessarily right on top of the situation."

McKee was a contract technician for Cameron International, a subcontractor working at the well in Dunkard Township, Greene County.

McKee is originally from Warren, Pa., but had recently been living in Morgantown, W. Va., with his fiancée. The couple were expecting a baby at the time.

Chevron said it is still reviewing the report, but has issued this statement:

"Chevron is committed to safe operations. We look forward to continuing to work with the Pennsylvania DEP and OSHA in order to fully understand what happened with this incident, and we are determined to prevent it from happening again."

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