BOBTOWN, W.Va. — It could be days before a gas well fire in southwestern Pennsylvania is contained.

That fire was still burning at a Chevron Appalachia site near Bobtown in Greene County, Pa. on Tuesday evening, more than 12 hours after an explosion was first reported there.

Chevron officials confirmed one of about 20 employees working at the time of the blast was still unaccounted for late in the day.  Another worker was injured in the explosion and fire.

“Chevron’s primary concern, at this point, is to contain the fire and ensure the safety of its employees, contractors and the surrounding community,” company officials said in a statement.

Several local fire departments responded to the scene initially.  A firefighting team from Houston, specially trained to fight well fires, arrived in Pittsburgh early on Tuesday afternoon.

The cause of the blast, which sent flames and smoke high into the air throughout the day Tuesday, was not immediately clear. 

Pennsylvania State Police said it would be later this week before they could access the site on Bald Hill Church Road to start an investigation.

Video courtesy – WPXI Pittsburgh

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  • Renee

    I'm assuming they are not aloud to say all they know yet. Families must be notified first. Many of the men live out of state. Myself am waiting to hear from one of the men there. know he is alive but been unable to text or speak as of yet. Praying for the missing man and his family.

  • Wvu4evr

    Hope these workers are all alright. It's sad ppl on here have to turn this tragedy In to politics. We need to pray for those men from Wild Well Control. They have a big task of putting this fire out. All of our jobs in the nat gas industry are dangerous but Drill Baby Drill!!!! Where would this region be with out it.



    • ThingFish


      Don't thank god - thank your husband! Your husband exists and is real - God is neither! If your husband has managed to hold a place in the oil and gas industry then he must be an individual with a little more about him than the average person and deserves your thanks.


      We are all blessed and cursed in equal amounts! It's the way of life. It has nothing to do with God because "god" is an invention of superstitious desert nomads....

    • Renee

      My husband works in the field too. I had two family members where this story is. Reminds me how real the danger is for them. Thankful for all they do to support their families.

  • tom

    Scott, keep drinking the kool aid.

    • Larry

      Made with "the water".

  • jake

    kinda ironic since chevron is so saftey inclined too..

  • Jim

    Whatever businesses do with the natural gas is one thing. But safety to employees and to the public is the most important. This is unacceptable.

    • John

      It's the frac that you should all be worried about, that is the worst part. Before you even see the gas the toxic crap put in the ground to shatter the shale makes this toxic fire look like sprig daffodils.

      Hydrochloric Acid
      Glutaraldehyde, Quaternary Ammonium Chloride
      Ethylene Glycol
      Just to name a few.

      They call this water!

      • The Perfect Stranger

        Hydrochloric Acid - common simple acid used as a Calcium de-scaler in drinking water systems.

        Glutaraldehyde - medical and dental disinfectant. Used as a biocide. Your dentist has probably put some in your mouth!

        Quaternary Ammonium Chloride - used as a disinfectant, fabric softener, as an antistatic agent in Shampoo (Didja get any on ya, John? Are you SURE? read the labels on all those cleaning agents in your home?)

        Methanol - naturally occurring wood alcohol. Excellent for cleaning glass.

        Ethylene Glycol - raw material used to make synthetic fibres and plastic drink bottles (how's that Dr Peppers, John?). First synthesized in 1856 by a Frenchman, it's called "glycol" because it's half way between alcohol and glycerine, both simple natural compounds.

        Ethandiol - commercial name for Ethylene Glycol. Ho Hum.

        "Just to name a few. " Actually, John, you named one less than you thought because the last two are the same thing.

    • john b.

      I work in same field, accidents do happen. but sometimes things go wrong. these people go to work everyday so people like you can cook stay warm. people like you, thinks it,s great when you see the money n your pockit, but let something go wrong. you are the first to gripe about it. so you don't know what you are talking about. SHUT UP

    • John

      Accidents happen dumbass.

  • Renee

    How about focusing on the most important issue. The men on that job site!! Thankful this did not kill everyone on site. Those men are out there trying to make a living and provide for their families. I have 2 family members there!!! I have sent my brother a text saying I love him and pray for everyone but I don't think he is able to send word out yet. My husband works for the same company here in another state. So stop argueing right now about environmental issues and think about the value of life and family!!! Someone there isn't coming home tonight!

    • Jason412


      I hope your brother and all of his co-workers are safe. There's no word on the missing worker yet, so let's hope he too makes it home tonight.

  • tom

    I'm so grateful that big business is taking such good care of us and our planet and only has our best interests at heart!

    • tom

      Wood burning stove, windmill for electric(live in the country and drive a Prius, get with the 21st, you're so 19th century!

      • DAN

        tom you must be on the teet. I was to be on this site today thank god I wasn't pray for my friends who are. you are a typical asshole who hasn't worked since he was 14 now I am 54 still supporting my family and I guess yours too . if you never had to work .JERK

        • tom

          I worked as a roughneck on wildcat wells outside Summersville in the mid 70's and lived near the site of this disaster for 18 years. Open your eyes and maybe you can see!

          • Randy

            So Tom, the tech you described not to mention your home comes at a very high cost. So tell us, here in WV, where did you work that paid you an income that affords you such luxuries as you described?

      • Wowbagger


        Wood burning stoves release large amounts of carcinogenic cyclical hydrocarbons and are far more polluting than any gas burning heating device.

        Hybrid batteries will have to be recycled at some point with significant pollution potential and cost from $2,000 to over $5,000 to replace depending on the vehicle.

        How does that windmill work when the wind isn't blowing? Or do you have more big expensive batteries?

        • tom

          Forgot to add that I use solar panels as well, just forward thinking not looking back at technologies from 150 years ago.

          • Alum

            Did you ever look up the byproducts of the manufacturing process for solar panels?

            Oh wait, it doesn't matter because they are made overseas and don't impact you directly.

            And is your windmill in the migratory path of the Golden Eagle, a bird protected by international treaty?

            Here's the point. Get off of your environmental high horse and use reason and logic, if you have any.

    • Scott

      Tom, care to tell everyone how you heat your home? where your electricity comes from? where the fuel in your car comes from?

  • Foster

    Our world as we know it would not be possible without the Drilling, fracing, or production of oil or natural gas. Our cities such Pittsburgh, would take hours to days to navigate, if on foot or horseback. Look at history, how long it took to travel a mere 15 miles. The infrastructure that we've built with the "progress" of oil and gas would be totally useless without continued advancement in the industry. As with any industry oil and gas has its draw backs, but its what we have for the moment.

  • Wade

    Steve isn't very bright. He has a computer or a smart phone which means he enjoys technology, without oil and other fuels how much of that do you really think we would have. Plastic is a petroleum product for example, and plastic saves lives everyday.

  • Foster

    If you will do your research, you will find that during the fracturing process that water is used to "fracture" the hydrocarbon baring formation. After that operation is completed, the well is flowed back bringing up the frac fluids and hydrocarbon. Whether the hydrocarbon be a natural gas, oil, condensate, or hydrate. Once the formation gives up the original frac fluids it continues to make naturally occurring formation water along with gas or targeted natural resource. Post frac operations there is little to no water produces compared to the original fluid pumped during the frac process. Once the well is in production, natural gas along with other gases such as nitrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen to name a few are produced. The natural gas as it makes its way to surface tends to separate by periodical weight and is compressed forming ice hydrates. This condition is highly dangerous do to the thawing of the different gases at different temperatures creating higher than normal pressures at surface. Yes whether we like it or not, oil and natural gas are involved in every aspect of of our everyday live. By products of natural gas are used in agriculture to grow our produce to smelting of the steel in your vehicles. It is the resource that we are using to live our live. Without a alternative fuel source that can equal it or replace it, we as humans (ALL) will have to strive to use it, develop it and harness it more efficiently,

    • The bookman

      That is a fantastic post. It should also be noted that industry of any kind poses it's associated risk. We should pray for all involved instead of pouncing on this incident to score points in an energy debate.

      • Jason412


        Was Foster's post not pouncing on it to score points in an energy debate?

        There's not enough information out for me to comment on the incident one way or the other, and frankly I'm more concerned with the well-being of the employees so forgive me if I don't see an explanation of how fracking works and how important gas is as a fantastic post when an employee is still missing.

        • The bookman

          Sorry Jason, but I found it helpful to put it in some perspective. Industrial accidents are a terrible fact of life. His explanation and summary was perfect, and I did not find it to be a celebratory message of Fracking or the use of natural gas along with its component parts.

          Read the posts below to find those tossing the political football, as I Still don't see that in Foster's post. It's a dangerous process, and I haven't seen a single post that speculates as to the cause, so what is the source of your ire?

          And as stated above, pray for all those involved.

  • sandy

    I agree with Steve. When everyone wakes up the danger it will be too late.

    • Aaron

      What dangers Sandy?

  • Foster

    I worked with these guys and with there BP's as a WSM. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the missing man. I've been the one to have to make that call to let loved ones know that their husband or dad won't be coming home. It's not as if we in the oil and gas business start the day thinking we are going to have major failure and kill someone or cause environmental damage. We are men trying to do a job and make living the same as anyone else.

  • Heart shot

    Steve so you walk everyplace you go and use candles for light and bundle up in organic fibers to keep warm

    • Robert

      A lot of candles use petroleum products not to mention shipping the raw materials and finished products too.

  • Steve

    Guess somebody fracked up.

    We will never learn that this little blue planet is the ONLY home we'll ever live on, because by the time we actually come to terms with this problem, it'll be too late. No clean water or air left for the few survivors.

    • DAN

      SO sad you have no clue. If you don't work in the industry then shut up1

    • Alum

      Ah, an anti-technology zealot. So you want whooping cough, smallpox, or polio to decimate you and your loved ones? The little blue planet, as you call it, isn't always such a friendly place. Humans are equipped with rational thought processes that can be used to make life better for us all, and we have seen this exponetially in the last 100 or so years.

      And by the way, in 1970 (when the environmental issues were much more serious than today), alarmists like you were preaching that by the year 2000 cancer rates would soar through the roof and the population would be reduced significantly accordingly. That hasn't seemed to happen yet and as a matter of fact survival rates in this country rose through the 20th Century (darn that technology!). Now take a deep breath Steve, put the zealous, emotional and shock-intended commentary aside, and think problems and issues through rationally, using logic.

      • John

        I bet if these whiners had to fill an oil lamp to read by and scrub their clothes in a tub they would have a different attitude!!

    • MeD

      Wow, what an ignorant idiot. You apparently don't work it, and don't know anything! Fracking is often done with brine water- SALT WATER. Do some research. And hopefully none of your family gets killed in an accident so people can jump down your throat over bits of info put out by a biased news media.

      • Steve

        Oh, and salt poured into an inland land mass is healthy? Didn't the ancient Romans salt the earth of their enemies so nothing would grow there for generations of not centuries?

        Just sayin

    • Robert

      Hopefully you do not heat your house with a hydrocarbon source or use any products that used hydrocarbons in their production from raw materials to shipping or you would be a hypocrite.

    • John

      Yeah, because water totally causes fires.

      Know your facts before you run your mouth stevie boy

    • KennaEer

      Did you ride your horse to work today?

      • Steve

        Bicycle, actually. Thanks. Cold n slow, but Nashville is not snow covered