There was a natural gas explosion at the Williams Gas Compressor Station near Wharton, PA, Monday.
Everyone on site are accounted for and not injured, said officials from the Austin and Coudersport Fire Departments.
As of 5 p.m., two Coudersport Engines, one Austin Engine and two Austin Ambulances are on standby at the site of the explosion.
All fire teams had to wait for Williams Gas employees to shut off surrounding gas wells. Once that happened, the fire teams went in to fight the remaining fire.
The cause of the explosion is currently speculative – the initial thinking was there was a break in the main line which caused the explosion. Fire police said there is an estimate of 80 wells located around the site.
From an outside assessment, there is two separate fires that have occurred as a result of the explosion. One fire engulfed an unidentifiable structure while a smaller fire was seen by the dehydration towers.
Williams Gas Company and local fire outfits run a yearly drill should an explosion like this happen, said firefighter Darren Vanwhy.
Williams Gas Company spokesperson Chris Stockton released the following statement:
“At approximately 3:07 p.m. Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC experienced a fire at its dehydration facility at Station 535 in Potter County, Pa. There were no injuries and all facility personnel are accounted for.
“There is no danger to the general public and customer deliveries have not been impacted. The facility’s emergency systems have been activated and local Potter County emergency responders are at the scene. Company personnel are currently working to isolate the source of the fire. The cause of the incident and extent of damages are not known at this time.”
On Tuesday Stockton said the fire was completely extinguished at 6:40 p.m. Monday and the facility is currently shut down.
Williams is working with appropriate regulatory agencies to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the incident and initiate repairs, Stockton said. The extent of the damages are still in the process of undergoing assessment. No one is sure yet how long the facility will be out of service.
Stockton also mentioned the level of preparedness the first responders and Williams crew members had during the incident.
“We invest a lot of time in training and coordinating drills between our staff and local responders,” Stockton said. “When incidents do happen, it’s reassuring to see that our staff and the responders are ready, as was the case last night.”