Missing worker identified in Greene County gas well explosion

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A northwestern Pennsylvania newspaper has identified a worker missing since last week's gas well explosion and fire in Dunkard, Greene County.

The Times Observer of Warren reported that friends held a candlelight vigil Thursday for Ian McKee, 27, originally from Warren but whose latest address is in Morgantown, W.Va.

Mr. McKee, an employee of Cameron International, a contractor to Chevron, was onsite when the gas well near Bobtown exploded last Tuesday morning, one of his friends told the Times Observer . Officials at a press conference Monday in Morgantown said they continued to search for the man, who is feared to be dead and has not been identified by the company

"This is an extremely difficult time for our Chevron family and those who work for Cameron Surface Systems," Chevron spokesman Trip Oliver said Monday. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to [the missing employee's] family and friends."

Mr. Oliver said Monday if the missing employee is confirmed to have died in the explosion, it would be the first Marcellus operations-related fatality for Chevron.

A spokeswoman for Chevron said the company "cannot comment or speculate on the status or identity of our unaccounted for colleague" because of the ongoing Pennsylvania State Police investigation. She referred all questions to them.

The Times Observer said Mr. McKee graduated from Warren Area High School in 2004, and was living in Morgantown, W.Va., with his girlfriend, Danielle Desposito, according to friend Melissa Almendinger of Warren.

Melissa Almendinger, of Warren, could not be reached for comment, but told the Times Observer that she organized the vigil for "my best friend and the godfather of my son."

She told the paper that Mr. McKee's mother, stepfather and sister still live in Warren.

Ms. Almendinger said she has been in continuous contact with Ms. Desposito, who updates her on information from Chevron, including a phone call during the vigil.

Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1944 or on Twitter @borntolede. First Published February 18, 2014 8:59 AM

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