Last updated: February 16. 2013 3:54AM - 1222 Views

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An explosion at a natural gas compressor station in Susquehanna County sent black smoke into the air Thursday, alarming residents but causing no injuries.
The state Department of Environmental Protection said there was a small natural gas leak from the Lathrop compressor station in Springville Township, Susquehanna County, about 30 miles northwest of Scranton, but that air-quality testing showed no problems in the surrounding area.
DEP was alerted to the explosion around 11:30 a.m.
“I heard a big boom,” said Burton Miller, 53, who lives in a mobile home up the street. “It shook the trailer so bad.”
Vera Scroggins, an anti-drilling activist who lives in the area, said she saw thick clouds of black smoke billowing from the site. Helen Humphreys, a spokeswoman for compressor station owner Williams Partners LP, said there was a fire.
The compressor station pressurizes natural gas taken from the Marcellus Shale formation for movement along the pipeline system.
“Once it’s safe to return to the station, we’ll begin a thorough investigation into the cause and determine precisely what happened. Right now our top priority is to ensure that everybody is safe, making sure they stay safe, and working with the first responders,” Humphreys said.
DEP spokeswoman Colleen Connolly said there were no reports of injuries. She said a fire department from South Abington Township, Lackawanna County, was called in to spray a foaming agent onto the site.
Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. sold the Lathrop station, another compressor station and 75 miles of gathering pipelines to Williams for $150 million in 2010. Williams has since built a 32-mile pipeline connecting Lathrop to its Transco interstate pipeline.
The Williams Companies Inc. owns a 72 percent stake in Tulsa, Okla.-based Williams Partners LP.

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