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House Explosions in Bradford Pennsylvania tied to Migrating Methane Gas from Drilling Activity

March 24, 2011

A home in Bradford PA where apparent gas migration caused it to explode

A meeting was held last week in Bradford (McKean County) Pennsylvania that included local officials, fire, police, the regional Emergency Management Agency, Federal officials and State Department of Environmental Protection representatives.  Also on hand were members from the private sector which included people from several oil and gas companies, drilling companies, utility providers, an insurance agent, and a legal attorney.  The meeting did not include the local area newspaper The Bradford Era.  Reporters from the paper were barred entry to the meeting.

The meeting was held to discuss concerns over gas migration causing ignition points and resident’s homes exploding.  At least two homes in the area have exploded and there have been several injuries.  Migrating methane gas is the suspected cause of these explosions and the migration caused by unconventional natural gas drilling in the area.

In the videos below, local Sheriff Brad Mason met with reporters and delivered a second-hand explanation of what was discussed at the meeting.

It’s reasoned that older oil and gas wells from the late 1800s and into the early 1980s which were never plugged or sealed properly could be facilitating this migration.  New unconventional gas fracking could be forcing a build up of these methane gases.

Officials have stated that public safety is a top priority.  Another priority would be for the DEP and the EPA to “think very carefully before allowing more drilling and fracking in areas where homes exist.”

The editor of the Bradford Era newspaper wrote the following very strong editorial in response asking “How Dare They?”  Marty Robacker Wilder asks where the news media’s invitation to the secret meeting was.  “Oh, yeah — you. Your invitation must be in the mail.”

  1. Iris Marie Bloom permalink
    November 13, 2012 8:54 pm

    We have learned that these homes blew up because of old abandoned gas and oil wells interacting with new vertical drilling. That’s why the industry went to such lengths to hush up the story.

    There are between 325,000 and 500,000 abandoned wells, almost all of them improperly plugged or not plugged at all, in Pennsylvania. The 50-foot geysers in Tioga County this past summer (2012) were also caused by new drilling — in this case, unlike the McKean County incidents, Marcellus Shale drilling by Shell.

    RECKLESS PERMITTING: Yet instead of denying permits to Marcellus Shale gas drillers who want to drill right on top of — literally down into — old oilfields (such as that surrounding the Henry’s farm in Bessemer, PA), PA DEP wastes no time issuing permits for this life-threatening activity.

    Increasingly, people are getting organized to confront this massive problem and push DEP to take it seriously. Save Our Streams PA is doing a particularly good job. To learn more, go to Save Our Streams PA blog; enter “abandoned” as your search term. Please push our elected officials to stop fracking immediately and to make sure every one of those old wells is plugged.

    TAXPAYER COSTS::It has cost as much as $700,000 to plug a Marcellus well (Cabot paid over $21,000 to plug three of its wells in the Dimock area). The bonding requirements must reflect this cost. The bonding requirements are a small fraction of this amount now, putting all Pennsylvanians completely at risk for footing the bill for the plugging and cleanup of Marcellus wells in the future. Big corporations just unload their wells onto smaller companies, and the smaller companies can’t afford to plug and clean up their wells, so we are the ones who will pay, unless we rise up against this insanity now.

    HEALTH AND SAFETY: Of the two families whose homes blew up in Bradford, one man was in the basement at the time. His house exploded; the stairs were gone; when he finally got to his wife, she was on fire and he had to pat out the flames in her hair. Both survived. The other man was outside shoveling snow when his house blew up. He survived. Is this a risk we should be increasing for everyone in shale country? Well, that is exactly what this industry and its friends in PA DEP are doing right now. Fracking poses unacceptable risks.

  2. June 22, 2013 11:50 am

    If the Bradford Era does NOT file a right-to-know action, it is abdicating its responsibility. This meeting IN SECRET violates just about everything the 1st A and Pa.’s RTK law establish. These officials can come up with several excuses why the press was barred. But, at the very least, these officials did not want truth to be reported.

  3. Diane Allen-Harkins permalink
    June 22, 2013 10:36 pm

    Stop the fracking, and jail the governor who was deeply involved with gas companies long before he was ever elected to his office. He and the large companies are making millions and don’t give a damn about the cost to his constituents or the damage to the environment.


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