Several gas well workers were injured after an explosion at an Antero site in Doddridge County early Sunday morning. The explosion sent five of those workers to West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh and left residents concerned about the safety of themselves and other workers.
For John and Diane Pitcock, the sights and sounds of gas well drilling is the norm at their Doddridge County ranch. But after seeing an unusual flare and hearing venting on Saturday, they feared the worst.
"Everything was fine, I went to bed, and about 3:30, 4:00, I heard a noise enough to wake me...so I went on the porch, the back deck where our bedroom is, and instead of just a flare, to the left of the flare, there were two other low-to-the ground flares....and I knew that wasn't right," said John Pitcock.
The Pitcocks' house is located just 2,500 feet from the site where the gas well explosion occurred.
"This type of drilling is so different than conventional than regular drilling, and it has a lot more risks and concerns to it. It's not your conventional drilling," said Diane Pitcock.
They headed down to the Ruddy Alt Pad to find out more and found emergency response crews had already arrived.
"All of the workers were kind of congregating there. I could see the flashing lights of the fire department on my way down, and I simply asked, 'What's going on? We live in the little house right below the well pad," said Diane.
The Pitcocks said they were initially told to evacuate their home.
"So, we packed up the pets, and put them in the trunk, then we drove on down," said John. "At that point, the police officer was there, and he said they thought it wasn't safe, but they just recommended that we go down."
12News headed to the site Sunday afternoon to find that only safety personnel were allowed past the gates.
The Pitcocks said they want answers from officials on why this happened and how they plan to make sure it doesn't happen again.
"We wouldn't have known. But then we were told, 'It's not safe, you might not want to stay around there. And this is our property, we have to live with this," said Diane