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Firefighters respond to blaze at gas well

HARTFORD — When Brookfield Fire Department Capt. Nick Cresanto went into work Friday, he didn’t expect to be dispatched at 8:47 a.m. and still be on the same call at 7:20 p.m.

“It was a long call,” he said.

He, along with eight other Brookfield firefighters, went to a gas well fire at 4730 state Route 7 in Hartford. He said that when the crew arrived on the scene, they were faced with a small to medium gas fire.

“The fire was contained to the well. It wasn’t going anywhere,” he said, noting the residential well provides gas to two houses.

The firefighters attempted twice to turn off the gas valve, but it just wouldn’t budge. That’s when the explosion happened.

“We retreated from the area,” he said.

Cresanto said the explosion, which manifested into a vapor cloud, happened in the middle of a field.

A Hartford Township resident, who did not want to give his name, said when he came home, he could see fire trucks for seven blocks in both directions.

“I knew a gas well had been burning since 9 this morning,” he said.

At 5:49 p.m., Brookfield

fire Chief David Masirovits announced there was a “shelter in place” order for nearby residents. Cresanto noted the order was made as a precautionary measure.

“We had a secondary plan,” Cresanto said.

And that plan consisted of engaging the help of other rescue agencies. They contacted the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the state fire marshal, the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office and Trumbull County HazMat. Soon, the word got around and others reached out to help, including a few departments from Pennsylvania.

“I’ve seen people there that I’ve never met before,” said Cresanto. “A majority of the area’s departments responded to assist Brookfield.”

Then the teams began a fire supression operation.

“Once the fire was out and the area cooled down, the well repair team went in to replace the valve,” Cresanto said. He pointed out that a portion of state Route 7 was closed for only a short amount of time.

“There were no injuries or fatalaties to report, and that’s a successful operation,” he said. “It was definitely an interesting call.”

wwolfgang@tribtoday.com

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