Natural Gas’ Accident-Free Record Explodes. Literally

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If you’re one of the hundreds of people in Cuyahoga County who have decided to drill a natural gas well in your backyard, you may want to read this. When Scene ran a story recently chronicling the new suburban oil and gas boom ("The Gates Millbillies", the guys in the drilling business boasted that putting in a well was 100 percent safe. The chance of your house exploding because of a nearby well, they said, was next to nothing. ... But tell that to Richard and Thelma Payne, who live in Bainbridge Township, right next to a recently drilled well. Actually, they used to live in Bainbridge Township, until their house exploded over the weekend. According to a Plain Dealer story today, the explosion was caused by natural gas leaking up into the home’s basement through the well water, which officials from the drilling company, Ohio Valley Energy, believe happened when the drillers unknowingly pierced through a pool of gas deep below the ground. The Paynes were a bit stunned, but uninjured, by the blast, which was so strong that it actually lifted the home off its foundation and then dropped it back down again. The oil and gas industry has since changed it’s motto from “100 percent safe” to “Nobody light a match.” -- Jared Klaus

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