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Breaking: Gas Compressor Station Fire Injures Worker in Bradford County

March 20, 2013

Stock photo of gas compressor station fire from http://www.digplanet.com.

Yet another compressor station fire in Pennsylvania injured a worker last night in Bradford County. The fire chief on the scene reported the burns as “not serious.”  This is at least the fourth known compressor station fire since November 2011, when a compressor station exploded and burned in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, forcing midnight evacuations.  The fire, burns, and unknown air emissions in Bradford County last night occurred just ten days before the one-year anniversary of the Lathrop compressor station explosion and fire, which emitted a loud “boom” and  caused houses to shake on March 29th, 2012 in Susquehanna County.

Jeff Stone of WETM-18, a television station out of Corning and Elmira, New York, reported the news about last night’s fire: 

One Injured After Gas Compression Station Fire

Bradford County, PA – A fire at a natural gas compression station in Bradford County Tuesday night injured one of the workers at the station.

Herrickville Fire Chief Glen Camp says the fire happened at 6:30 p.m. at the compression station on Doland Road in Herrick Township.

It belongs to Southwestern Energy.  A compression station is where gas well lines feed into and then is pumped into distribution mainlines.

Camp says one of the workers was burned and taken to the hospital.  He said the burns did not appear to be serious.

Camp says the fire did not spread beyond the compression station and there was no pollution resulting from the incident.

After firefighters arrived a gas company employee arrived to shut a valve off to put out the fire.

Context

The incident comes as Pennsylvania Department of “Environmental Protection” (PA DEP), under the direction of Secretary Michael Krancer, has handed out 400 permits to compressor stations, without aggregating (combining) air emissions from these dispersed sources of intense air pollution. Severe nosebleeds, sore throats and other symptoms have recently been reported in Susquehanna County, apparently due to emissions from dehydrators (part of every compressor station), as well as flaring. PA DEP is now aggressively seeking to provide further exemptions to the industry for compressor stations, flaring, and other fracking equipment that produces air emissions.

The Pennsylvania List of the Harmed now identifies at least 319 individuals and families harmed by shale gas development in Pennsylvania so far, including only those about whom a newspaper report, online or video account exists. The list includes several people harmed by compressor stations in Pennsylvania so far. Less is known about impacted workers.

Commentary

Talked to your Pennsylvania legislator lately? You know the gas industry does. Please speak up now — don’t assume your legislator knows about this, or any of these compressor station explosions, fires, air emissions, or health impacts. We must counter-balance the gas industry lobbyists who are successfully convincing our taxpayer-funded regulators to back off when they should crack down. Urge your legislator: no more compressor station permits, no more exemptions for air pollution, and read to them half a dozen examples of health impacts from the Pennsylvania List of the Harmed. Tell them we need a moratorium on fracking in PA and that we’ll be voting out legislators who sit by while injuries, illnesses and deaths accumulate from an inherently harmful industry at this very early stage, about 15% of the way to the projected number of fracking wells.

Concerned about the ongoing stream of harms done to Pennsylvanians while news programs actively minimize the damage or don’t report it at all? Consider coming to tell Dr. Nirav Shah, Health Commissioner of New York State, about your concerns this coming Friday, March 22nd, in Philadelphia, where he is giving a lecture at 12 noon followed by a reception at 1:30 pm. The details are on our blog calendar, to the right of this post. You must RSVP.

Perhaps while our PA Department of Health and DEP turn a blind eye, the New York Health Department is genuinely curious about shale gas impacts on Pennsylvanians. If you plan to go, please read this first.

Our best wishes to the injured worker and all the families affected by the Bradford County compressor station fire.

Thanks to Rebecca Roter for passing on the news.

5 Comments
  1. March 20, 2013 2:16 pm

    Worker health and safety is the the (deliberately) untold story of this horrible industry and complicit governments.

  2. March 20, 2013 2:32 pm

    Where are the jobs they’re always boasting about? Unemployment in Pennsylvania is up, and these are the most dangerous jobs on earth.

  3. patricia.libbey@verizon.net permalink
    March 21, 2013 5:16 am

    Any news about Sandra Staingraber’s arrest?  Is she being held?  She is getting chemo, right?, so

    • Iris Marie Bloom permalink
      March 29, 2013 10:51 am

      Just to quickly respond, Sandra and the others were held for hours and released. She must have her health monitored and undergo painful procedures to monitor for the potential recurrence of the bladder cancer — it has a statistically high recurrence rate, 70%. But no, she is not undergoing chemo, and she said her time in jail was very peaceful. Organizers are under constant stress — maybe more of us should go to jail more often…

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