Investigation continues into blast at CNG station

An explosion and fire occurred Thanksgiving morning at a compressed natural gas station along Route 66 in Clarion County. (Contributed photo)
From staff reports

State police are continuing their investigation into an explosion and fire Thanksgiving morning at a compressed natural gas station along Route 66 in Clarion County.

The incident occurred about 6:25 a.m. Thursday at 1534 Route 66 in Porter Township. Trooper David M. Powell, a state police fire marshal based in Punxsutawney, said New Bethlehem volunteer firefighters responded and found that the CNG station had been badly damaged and was on fire.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze, and no one was injured as a result of the explosion or fire, Powell said.

Police identified the owner of the station as William Franklin Clepper of Freeport.

Powell said in a press release that it appeared the blast originated within the compressor station, but the cause still needs to be determined. Powell was contacted by telephone Friday at the Punxsutawney barracks and he said his investigation was continuing but he had nothing new to report Friday.

The compressor station was described as a total loss, and the surrounding self-storage sheds were also damaged as a result of the explosion, Powell said.

Damage to the station and surrounding buildings was estimated at $100,000.

Volunteer firefighters from Hawthorn, Limestone and Distant assisted at the scene along with Clarion Hospital EMS personnel.

Anyone with information about the explosion or who has photographs or video from the scene is asked to contact Powell at the Punxsutawney barracks at (814) 938-0510.