WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. --
Four months after an explosion inside a home on Blueberry Drive in West Mifflin, residents are still worried about high methane levels in the neighborhood.
Residents told Team 4 investigative reporter Jim Parsons that Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection officials have determined the methane is coming from an old abandoned gas well and migrating along natural gas lines that were dug in the 1970s.
The DEP installed methane venting systems in two houses in the neighborhood, including the home where the explosion occurred. The other vented home has been abandoned and the electricity has been shut off.
Neighbors say they are worried that without electricity, the venting system is not working and another explosion could occur.
A paint line in Shannon Willard's yard marks the spot where the DEP has found the highest methane levels coming from at least one old gas well.
"I want some answers. I want to know that my family is safe," Willard said. "I want some kind of venting system implemented in my yard. There's gas in my yard. My kids play right there."
Last February, methane gas exploded inside the house of Willard's next-door neighbor. That family still hasn't moved back, and another neighbor left because of high methane readings.
"I live two houses away from the house that had the explosion, and I know nothing," Susan Frank said. "I attended a council meeting. I still know nothing."
"I did two tours in Iraq, and I was worried about getting blown up there, and I never would have thought for a minute I would have to come home and worry about getting blown up in my own home," Robert Frank said.
The DEP has installed gas venting systems inside the two homes with high methane readings, and local firefighters have given explosive gas detectors to some of the homeowners.
"They tell me, if my monitor goes off, I am to immediately call 911 and evacuate," Willard said. "Am I supposed to live like that? On edge, waiting for my monitor to go off?
"We just want answers, and we want to know, 'Are we safe?' We're not getting answers, and I think its time some people star producing something," Robert Frank said.
DEP officials have not returned calls for comment on this story.
A spokesman for state Rep. Bill Kortz said the DEP has a plan to dig trenches throughout the neighborhood that will vent the methane away from homes. Kortz's office said the DEP doesn't have the money to locate the leaking wells and cap them.
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