WEST GOSHEN TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — There’s a new problem on the controversial Mariner East pipeline after a scare rattled a local neighborhood. A loud boom jolted people who live along the pipeline in Chester County. Residents near the site reported hearing the boom and feeling their homes shake, and now it’s under investigation by a handful of agencies, including the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.
Energy Transfer says crews were doing routine maintenance and flaring on one of its lines. The flare went out and needed to be re-lit, and when it was lighted again, it created a noise.
During routine maintenance at our Boot Station in West Goshen Twp., there was a backfire on a flare at approximately 8 pm as the station was brought back online. This resulted in a loud noise, similar to a car backfiring. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
— MarinerEast2 (@MarinerEast2) August 6, 2019
“During routine maintenance last evening at our Boot Station in West Goshen Township, there was a backfire on a flare stack at approximately 8:20 p.m. ET as the station was brought back online. This resulted in a loud noise, similar to what happens when a car backfires. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused to our neighbors,” the company said.
“Cups fell off the table, we just got done eating dinner, so it was a pretty big vibration,” said Alex Girone.
It was powerful enough to shake pictures on walls and rattle windows.
Chester County Emergency Management said they received four 911 calls.
Neither industry representatives or county officials are describing it as a blast or explosion.
Luanne Sprenkle said she was never concerned about the ongoing pipeline work near her home, until now.
“My husband thought it was a sonic boom, and I thought it was the pipeline. We didn’t hear any fire siren or anything. Neighbors came out and nobody knew what happened,” Sprenkle said.
Neighbors voiced frustration at what they called a communication blackout.
“For five years I’ve been saying this could happen and nobody knows what to do,” said Tom Casey.
A spokesman for the state’s utility commission confirmed they’re reviewing the incident.
Neighbors have questioned why there was no fire response.
Chester County Emergency Management indicated the incident was determined to be a noise disturbance, and only police were dispatched.
“Our emergency management practices always include reviews of potential or real emergency incidents to build upon and refine emergency response procedures. We have sent a list of questions to Energy Transfer asking for immediate answers on exactly what and why last night’s incident happened, how often it could happen and how we can expedite the emergency communication process,” Chester County EMA said.
Prosecutors launched a criminal investigation into work along the pipeline earlier this year, after years of complaints concerning the work surrounding the installation of the natural gas transmission line.
No injuries were reported.