Statement on Columbia Gas Explosion in Washington, PA

Posted Jul 31, 2019, by Sarah Martik

photo credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

photo credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Center for Coalfield Justice staff, like many in the Washington area, were shocked and scared by the Columbia Gas Pipeline explosion, which destroyed one house and impacted several others, on Wednesday, July 31, 2019. We are waiting with our community to hear news about the five people injured in that explosion and sending our thoughts and best wishes to the impacted families. We also want to recognize and thank the first responders who rushed to the scene. Columbia Gas has taken full responsibility for the incident, and we hope that they act promptly to repair the damages caused to our community. 

Pipelines are complicated infrastructure, deserving of, at the very least, increased transparency about their location, function, and potential risks. Our communities are deserving of improved emergency response plans that prioritize the swift communication of incidents to the surrounding community. 

For more information on the incident, take a look at media coverage linked below:

Observer-Reporter: https://observer-reporter.com/news/localnews/five-injured-in-north-franklin-township-house-explosion/article_2a722694-b3cd-11e9-a137-1f81bc7773a1.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share&fbclid=IwAR1Z1d7axJjXHpWHw5dAJeO_XfzzyszPAwAdxrHgZOYdAUUQDmRYR_MfN2o

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: https://www.post-gazette.com/local/washington/2019/08/01/Columbia-Gas-apologizes-Washington-County-Park-Lane-house-explosion-North-Franklin/stories/201908010127

WTAE: https://www.wtae.com/article/columbia-gas-washington-county-house-explosion-pressure-regulator/28580073

WPXI: https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/columbia-gas-takes-responsibility-for-explosion-that-destroyed-home-injured-5/971632094


  • Sarah Martik

    Sarah joined the CCJ team as a Community Organizer in 2017 after previous work in performing arts and foreign language education, and became our Executive Director in 2023. A resident of Coal Center, PA, she is excited to work on issues related to legacy coal mining and the connection between the Appalachian petrochemical buildout and increases in fracking in southwestern PA communities like hers. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Policy but often says that her undergraduate degree in Theatre from the California University of Pennsylvania has been more useful in her work than anything else (ask her why sometimes!). When she is not working, Sarah loves spending time with her fiancé, niece, and nephews, and going on walks with her "fur kid" Lucy. Contact Sarah at smartik@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org.

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