Belmont Village Officials Concerned After Fire at Well Pad
Village officials expressed concern about disaster planning after learning details of a recent fire at a nearby well pad.
During the monthly EMS and fire department report to Village Council, Lt. Kaye Hall said that on the morning of May 30 the department responded to a fire call at a new well pad on Water Tower Road.
“It could have turned into a major disaster,” she said.
Hall said the work crews at the new well being drilled on EQT Corp.’s Walking Tall site, had the fire out by the time the fire department arrived, and they shut the site down while they investigated the cause of the fire. The blaze involved one of the ethanol tanks at the site, Hall said, adding that department officials still didn’t know what caused the fire.
Hall also said those work crews immediately called in an extra water truck when the fire broke out.
Mayor Stan Sobel said he wants to know when such incidents occur and said he is concerned about the possibilities and the procedures involved should there be a need to evacuate the village.
“It behooves them to let everybody know in the community closest to the operation what the problem is and what to do,” Sobel said.
Hall said Belmont County 911 and the Belmont County Firefighters and Squad Officers Association have an emergency action plan and evacuation plans in place. She cited the Schnegg well pad fire at Powhatan Point in early 2018 as an example of the quickness with which action can be taken to help ensure public safety.
“All we have to do is make a phone call and everything starts rolling,” Hall assured Sobel and council.
“How would people know what to do?” Sobel asked. “I would like to see the plan and let people know about this plan. The village of Belmont needs to be involved in this, too.”
Councilman Dan Scott agreed with Sobel.
“Is the sheriff going to drive around on a P.A. telling people to get out of their houses?” Scott said. “I think it would be a good idea if we knew what to look for.”
Sobel added, “I’m really interested in seeing if we can cooperate with them or they can cooperate with us.”
Hall agreed to get some information on emergency planning and evacuation plans. Contacted after the meeting, Hall said the department estimates that there are 25 active well pads within 1 mile of the village.
Hall also said that May had been very busy for the Belmont Volunteer Fire Department with seven fire calls and 19 squad calls. She noted Belmont was one of the departments that responded to a fire inside the Belmont Correctional Institution on May 19. She also said the VFD has received its new “extractor” for washing turnout gear, funded with a grant from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
She explained that the special washing machine removes potentially cancer-causing contaminants released during fires.