Gas well leak forces evacuations near Marlow

Near Marlow_ A potentially explosive situation just east of Marlow forced seven families to evacuate their homes.  Millions of cubic feet of natural gas, has been spewing into the air for more than 24 hours now at a Chesapeake Energy well site just off of Highway 29. The company says the driver of a servicing rig backed over the well and destroyed it. Since then, first responders and experts from as far away as Houston have arrived to help cap the well.

Chesapeake says despite the seriousness of the situation, the area surrounding the leak is safe.  That's something neighbors who were not evacuated were happy to hear.  Wayne Christian says his wife was the first to tell him what had happened pretty much in his backyard. The noise from the gas leak was so loud he could hear it over the phone. "Well, you're thinking about the worst," Christian said.  "Thinking about an explosion.  Some fire, some debris."

Christian says Chesapeake told him that his house should be okay, even though his neighbor was told to leave. "They said they would call us if anything changed overnight. They'd be beating on the door."

Fortunately that didn't happen, and just as fortunate, Chesapeake says the gas leak has not led to any fires or injuries. Spokesman Jim Gipson says the air quality around the well site is being checked constantly to make sure the gas level remains low.  For safety's sake, a large water line has been run to the site which will be used to spray the rig that caused the leak.  Then, work will begin to cap it.

"If all of our safety procedures are followed, all the warning signs are followed, all the notification steps take place like they're supposed to, the energy industry can safely co-exist with society," said Gipson.

The families that were evacuated are staying in local hotels or with relatives. No word on when they'll be allowed back in their homes. You can count on us for any updates.