June 29--A natural gas well site operated by Statoil in Monroe County has been on fire since at least 9 a.m. today, and at least some nearby residents have been evacuated.
Statoil USA Onshore Properties, Inc. said in a news release that the fire at the Eisenbarth well pad in Ohio Township in that county -- in eastern Ohio along the West Virginia border -- is limited to the surface and is not burning in any actual wells. The wells on the site either have been, or are expected to be, hydraulically fractured, or fracked.
The company said in the news release that no one was injured, but residents close to the well site have been evacuated. It isn't clear how many were told to leave their homes or how far the evacuation zone extends. The Monroe County sheriff's office would not comment.
Personnel from several agencies are assisting.
No one from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency or the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was immediately available for comment. The Ohio EPA deals with potential hazards to the state's water supply and responds in cases of spills or explosions that endanger the environment. The natural resources agency is responsible for oversight of the state's oil and gas industry.
The site has eight wells; one formerly producing well has been plugged and the rest are being fracked.
"We are coordinating closely with local first responders," the company said in its statement.
The fire site appears to be about 125 miles east of Columbus.
Check back for updates.
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