WEST DEER TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – Gas service has been shut off to several local residents because of a dangerous methane leak from an old mine.

There’s a dispute over who should have to pay thousands of dollars to correct the problem in West Deer Township.

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The owner of the mine should pay for the cleanup, but when the owner isn’t known, the DEP has a responsibility for the so-called orphan mines.

The DEP said it’s trying to find the owner, but in the meantime, a family with two children under 10-years-old has no heat, no hot water and no gas stove.

The Raynovich family had its gas cut off yesterday when dangerous levels of highly explosive methane were discovered near their house.

Since the gas came from an old coal mine, the DEP was called. However they told them they didn’t have the funding and they’d have to pay to fix it themselves.

“I’m sure it would be quite a few thousand dollars. You know, it’s Christmas time, you know what I mean. You [don’t have] money laying around like that,” Luke Raynovich said.

The parents are most concerned for their 10-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter.

They’re fortunate it has not been bitter cold.

“Before this happened, I wished for snow and the cold because I just love that and now I’m like please don’t snow, let it rain and stay warm, I don’t want it to be that cold,” Ashley Raynovich said.

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They have no stove, no water heater and no furnace. They’ve been using space heaters for heat, but said they’re too much of a fire danger to use if it gets colder.

They said the DEP should fix the problem.

“For them to fix it would be the right thing to do is what the DEP stands for and their funding is not my issue and I think it’s something that needs to be done,” Ashley Raynovich said.

So far, they’ve had no luck with that.

“I don’t want to say that nobody cares, but right now it feels that way. You know nobody cares how we’re feeling or that we’re cold or that we can’t eat or shower. But you know the gas company comes and shuts of the gas and it is what it is,” Ashley Raynovich said.

Early this evening, a spokesman for the DEP said that they would send someone out Thursday to try to see what they could do to get the family’s gas back on.

In the meantime, they’re still looking for the owner of the mine.


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