Reports Indicate Gas Well Explosion Outside Galeton Near Watrous

Medic 6 has been dispatched to a gas well explosion near Gaines Township outside Watrous

At 10:54 am today – Two people reportedly injured. Explosion was South of Watrous on Elk Run Rd., East of Galeton. Guthrie Medicopter is airborn, Galeton Chief 10-20 on scene coordinating LZ.

UPDATE

Latest reports indicate that a pipe coupling broke apart injuring two workers, but this is unconfirmed.

Now Confirmed: Not an explosion according to DEP. “We know that there was no fire or explosion,” said Tom Rathbun, a spokesman for the PA Department of Environmental Protection. “We do not believe there were any leaks of any water or natural gas.”

Two patients were airlifted via Guthrie medicopter to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre. The incident is being reported as an industrial accident and not related to a gas well.

After receiving reports that a gas well exploded, we headed out to try and locate the site. We were met on what we believe was the scene of the accident by WETM Channel 18 and WENY News reporters.

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Workers at the site refused to comment on the situation, but did provide a telephone number for emergency contacts at the company’s headquarters.

While travelling towards the site of the accident we couldn’t help but notice the odor of petroleum and how badly the roadway had been damaged by tractor trailers and dump trucks. Approximately every minute or so we were met by convoys of oncoming dump trucks and tractor trailers.

There were several signs declaring that you should drive on the road at your own risk, and others that stated how bumpy the road was. Also, the side of the road was littered with signs from local residents stating that there was to be no parking or refueling along the road in many places.

Another sign protested the driling activity.

All in all we could see how residents in that area were being greatly impacted by nearby drilling activity. What was once a very remote and pristine area is now littered with signs, the smell of oil and noisy trucks.

One thing is for certain, it was a very rough road. So rough that the “city” news reporters didn’t believe an ambulance would even be able to make it to the site. Reporter Belinda Salinas from WETM said, “they’d bounce right out of the ambulance!” I assured them that emergency personnel in these parts are accustomed to such roads, although they made a good point, it would have been quite difficult for an ambulance carrying a patient to navigate the roads in their current condition.

According to WENY-TV, Cindy Kalback, a resident on Elk Run Road, said she witnessed emergency personnel coming up the road and that she attempted to call Ultra Resources emergency hotline to no avail. She said it is frustrating and predictable. She complained of truck traffic, the lack of information, and now, accidents that could put her and her neighbors in jeopardy.

She also said this, “We’re talking about our homes, if an explosion sparked a forest fire, and fire trucks can’t get back here to do anything, then where are we left? We moved here for peace and quiet, fresh air, and all of that is taken away now. I mean you hear my voice, that’s a result of dust and exhaust fumes.”

Both WETM and WENY stations plan to broadcast video this evening during their 6 o’clock news cycles.

We placed a call to Ultra Resources, Inc., the company that owns the sites in question for an official response, but are awaiting a call back at this time.



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