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Company report on fatal gas well blast found wanting

It may not come as news to readers of this blog that a second death has been recorded at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh related to the gas well explosion that happened last month in West Virginia.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed the death last Sunday of the 37-year-old worker. His passing comes eight days after that of a 45-year-old co-worker.

The men were among five who suffered severe burns when the gas well they were working on erupted. They reportedly were in the final stages of getting the well set for production when the explosion occurred. The conditions of the remaining three burn victims of this workplace accident aren't provided in the news reports we've seen. 

Antero Resources, the company that runs the well site, issued a report yesterday as called for by state investigators. The company reportedly says that various factors, including a leaky storage tank, led to an accumulation of gas at the site. It further says that there was "an apparent ignition source" near the location. But no specific cause is provided.

The Antero report does provide some guidance on what the company intends to do to ensure greater safety for workers going forward. That's likely to be viewed as too little, too late for the victims who may be wondering about how they will be compensated for their pain and suffering.

It's certainly not enough for officials. Investigators say the report is incomplete and that they want more information. They specifically seek more data about what sparked the explosion and clarification as to why Antero claims no pollutants were released as a result of the blast.

Source:, "West Virginia DEP says Antero Resources' report on July gas explosion was 'incomplete'," Alex Zimmerman, Aug. 1, 2013

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