A hydraulic fracturing well in Bloomingdale, Ohio has released a potentially explosive amount of gas, requiring 400 families living near the well to be evacuated. The blowout leak occurred on October 28, The Columbus Dispatch reports, with the evacuation lasting much of the evening.
The well is operated by a subsidiary of American Energy Partners. Jesse Comart, a spokesperson for American Energy Partners, issued a statement indicating that the organization has flown in Boots and Coots, an emergency response company owned by Halliburton and operated out of Texas. “We have begun repair work on the well and are working to determine the cause of the issue,” Comart said in a statement.
Methane from fracking well sites can ignite in very small amounts, and leaks are known to cause headaches and dizziness. However, some individuals living near the well did not notice any of the symptoms of a methane leak.
Bloomingdale resident Mike Poole told The Columbus Dispatch that, in spite of being on a nearby lake within a tenth of a mile of the well, he had no symptoms from exposure. “What if I had been out there fishing and this thing had blown up?” he asked the Dispatch. “They’re telling everybody, ‘Oh, this is perfectly, 100 percent safe, it’s safe safe safe safe, it’s not hurting the water, it’s not hurting the air.’ Well, why were we evacuated last night?”
The Bloomingdale well blowout is the third accident to occur at an Ohio fracking site in as many days. A worker at a fracking site was burned in a fire on Sunday, and on Monday a natural gas pipeline in Ohio’s Monroe County ruptured, setting several acres of woods ablaze.