Parents of worker killed in Greene County well blast sue Chevron

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The parents of a worker killed in a February explosion and fire at a Greene County gas well site have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Chevron Corp.'s local subsidiary, Chevron Appalachia LLC, the well‘‍s owner.

Ian R. McKee, 27, was on the Marcellus Shale well in Dunkard with a crew of 19 other contractors Feb. 11 when it exploded, igniting flames that were fed by leaking natural gas for five days before they finally extinguished themselves.

His remains were found at the site several days later.

In the lawsuit filed last month in Allegheny County, Denise and Robert McKee allege that Chevron did not properly maintain the well.

"The investigation is still ongoing, so there is much to learn about the cause of the accident, but right now we know that Chevron was in charge of the well, and something obviously went wrong," the family's attorney, John P. Gismondi, said in a press release.

He said one main purpose for filing the lawsuit was to "begin to gather information from Chevron."

"If we do not have a lawsuit on record, we have no ability to demand information from Chevron that helps us sort out all the details of what happened here, and the sooner we get that information, the further along we will be in protecting's the family's interest."

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection expects to have a report on the investigation's findings by the end of this month or the beginning of August, DEP spokesman John Poister said last week.

Mr. McKee, a worker for Houston-based Cameron International, lived most recently in Morgantown with his fiancee, who was due to give birth to their child this month.

Chevron spokeswoman Lee Ann Wainwright said the company cannot comment on pending litigation, but said "we will be responding to the lawsuit in due course."

"The circumstances leading to the filing are tragic, and our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and family of Ian McKee," she wrote in an email.

First Published July 2, 2014 12:00 AM

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