From the Associated Press today:
A spark from a natural gas drilling operation in north-central West Virginia ignited methane gas several hundred feet underground early Friday, sending up a fireball and triggering a blaze that officials said burned for about an hour on the floor of the rig.
Three workers were injured, two seriously enough to be airlifted to a hospital after the fire at the Antero Resources site near Sycamore in Harrison County.
The fire was quickly extinguished and the well pad was in a rural area, so it posed no danger to the public.
Two victims were flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, said Sgt. Heather Mick of the Harrison County 911 Center. A third was transported by ambulance.
Their conditions weren't immediately available, but state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Tom Aluise said one had returned to the job site by 9 a.m.
Workers were in the early stages of drilling a Marcellus shale gas well, Aluise said. The drill was about 400 feet deep when they began to withdraw it, creating a spark that ignited the methane. That created more of a fireball than an explosion, he said.
The accident happened at the Cottrill No. 3 well on Antero's Southern pad, and Aluise said the crew doing the work was with Hall Drilling LLC of Ellenboro.
Neither Hall Drilling nor Colorado-based Antero immediately returned messages Friday.
Aluise said Antero voluntarily shut down the operation, and a DEP investigation is under way.
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.