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UPDATE: Natural Gas Fire Extinguished in Bethel Township
BETHEL TOWNSHIP -- Firefighters battled a natural gas fire for hours in Clark County before the flames finally burned out.
It happened while crews were drilling for water at 945 Enon Road. With no pipelines or gas lines in the area, the cause was completely natural.
"I've never seen anything like this. This is the first time this has ever occurred in my career of almost 20 years," Bethel Twp Fire Chief Jacob King said Monday in dismay.
A routine drilling mission to dig a new water well for future homeowners nearby turned into a dangerous and unexpected scenario.
Two workers on the task drilled down just below 300 feet when they hit a natural gas pocket.
And just like that, their $750,000 rig up in flames.
"Once they hit the gas pocket it went in the engine intake. The engine started accelerating and they couldn't get it to stop. It hit the kill switch and ignited itself," Crabtree Drilling owner Jacob Crabtree explained.
The fire so massive and unpredictable it took 10 different fire departments and a HAZMAT team to tame the orange blaze. But extinguishing the fire directly was not the safest option.
"It's easier and less risk to the environment to the residents if we just let it burn. We've been able to extinguish the truck that was on fire and contain the fire to the back of the well where the drill was attached," King explained.
Luckily no one was injured and fire crews were able to keep the fire from reaching the structure of a brand new home in progress. Still, the fire's occurrence at all is baffling to those who spent their morning containing it..
"It's more common in northern ohio. It's not extremely common in this area. Talking with the drilling company, this has happened with them a few times but not to the extent where the actual drill took fire," King added.
Drillers say they will come back to the site with new equipment. and start over to dig a new water well. This time, not so deep in the ground.
BETHEL TWP. -- A crew digging a water well this morning instead hit a pocket of natural gas, which ignited.
Bethel Township Fire Chief Jacob King confirmed there are no pipelines in the area and the digging apparatus struck the pocket at 315 to 320 feet.
King said no one was injured in the fire, which began when Crabtree Drilling was attempting to find water for a new home construction at 945 Enon Road.
Firefighters spent the morning dousing the truck and the nearby construction site with water to keep the fire from spreading.
Fire officials confirmed that the fire had been extinguished by early afternoon.
King said it is easier and safer to people and the environment to let the fire burn itself out.
King said it's the first time in his nearly 20-year career that he's seen a fire like this.
Jacob Crabtree of Crabtree Drilling said hitting pockets of natural gas is not uncommon, but mostly in northern Ohio.
Crews don't typically run into natural gas around here at such shallow depths.
"Obviously, gas is prevalent in Ohio, just not at these shallow depths mostly," Crabtree said. "Once they hit the gas pocket, it went into the engine intake, the engine started accelerating, and they couldn't get it stopped."
Crabtree said his crews have never had pockets of natural gas catch fire before. He said the wind was just right to blow vapors over the engine intake.
The drilling rig and its truck is a total loss, which Crabtree said will cost $750,000 to replace.
BETHEL TWP. -- A well-digging crew this morning hit a pocket of natural gas while digging at a construction site, and a spark ignited a fire.
A homeowner contracted a well to be dug to a depth of 300 feet and found water, but not much. A decision was made today to drill another 100 feet, when they hit the gas pocket.
The truck, at 963 Enon Road, caught fire and ignited the gas and now fire crews have to wait for the natural gas to disperse and the fire to burn itself out.
There are no reports of injuries.
We'll bring you more on this developing story as information becomes available.
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