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Probe To Begin In Avella Gas Well Fire

AVELLA (KDKA) -- Three workers are hospitalized following a natural gas well fire in Washington County that sent flames shooting into the air last night.

The explosion happened shortly before 6:30 p.m. in Avella at a well owned by Chesapeake Appalachia.

Some neighbors said the blast sounded like a large plane had crashed nearby.

The fire is believed to have started in fluid tanks that are used in the Marcellus shale fracking process.

"It was natural gas liquids in a storage tank," Chesapeake Appalachia spokesperson Stacey Brodak told KDKA late Wednesday. "It's a natural substance that comes up out of the ground. It's collected in the tanks, separated from the gas stream, but I don't have any addition information in regards to that."

Brodak says the investigation will begin right away. "An investigation will begin immediately and that may take a little while to get the results of that, but obviously from that point, we'll just review."

In the meantime, though, Brodak says there was no danger to the public.

"The wells were shut in, there was no need for concern," Brodak added. "We had stated that earlier in our first statement that everything was under control, wells were shut in and there was no imminent danger to any area residents."

The injured workers were taken to UPMC Mercy Hospital.

At this point, officials are not releasing information on their names or the extent of their injuries.

DEP Set To Investigate After Gas Well Fire In Avella (2/23)
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