Boston Heights -- Officials have ruled a Jan. 23 gas well explosion and subsequent fire at a Hines Hill Road residence near Olde 8 Road in Boston Heights accidental.

According to Valley Fire District Chief Charlie Riedel, the exact cause of the spark which ignited the fire and destroyed three worker vehicles has not been determined.

There were no injuries reported in the fire or explosion.

"We think it was accidental," Riedel said Feb. 20. "We don't know exactly what caused the gas to ignite when they were working on the well. During the process, it does vent natural gas."

Officials have theories, which include a spark from a running motor or static electricity, Riedel said.

"But at this time they are only theories," he added. "We just could not pinpoint it exactly, but in their procedures we did not find they [workers] did anything wrong."

The department met with a variety of officials, including the Ohio Department of Natural Resources before making the determination, according to the chief.

The privately owned well has been in operation for 30 to 40 years, Riedel said.

"They [the owners] are trying to do some research to see if they should change some of their work procedures or anything like that," Riedel said. "We just can't put a finger on it other than that is just the danger of that particular process."

Gas well workers were in the process of performing maintenance procedures on the well shortly after 10 a.m. when the explosion occurred, according to police.

"Over time the wells build up debris and solution and they [well workers] were there to clean it," Riedel said. "The homeowner uses it for gas at his residence."


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