Some Eastern Ohio Residents Still Evacuated Following Well Pad Explosion

Feb 23, 2018

In eastern Ohio's Belmont County, some residents are still evacuated from their homes after a natural gas well explosion last week.

Sarah Long Smith lives in Powhatan Point, near where the XTO Energy well exploded. XTO is a subsidiary of ExxonMobil.

It led to fires that lasted three days, and a natural gas leak. No one was injured.

Long Smith and her husband were among the hundred or so people evacuated. After two nights at a hotel, they’re home.

Long Smith says she can still hear the leak.

“It’s eerie,” she says. “And so you wonder what in the world is exactly going on? You just wonder what’s happening and if it’s still escaping, then it’s in the air.”

XTO spokesperson Karen Matusic says a well-control crew from Texas is clearing debris from the explosion.

The well where they lost control was one of four on the pad. Matusic says they can’t plug the leak, because they first need to move a construction crane that ended up on one of the other wells.

“We think it’s laying on top of that, so they need to move that,” Matusic says.

State and federal regulators are monitoring air and water quality around the site.