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Gas Fire at Owego Elementary Construction Site

Bob Joseph/WNBF News

Officials are looking into a freak accident at the construction site of the new Owego Elementary School February 10.

Classes dismissed as usual, but after school activities, except for the Owego Free Academy boys’ Southern Tier Athletic Conference playoff basketball game, were canceled after a drilling rig hit a natural gas pocket, sparking a fire.

School officials say the rig, operated by American Auger and Ditching of Constanita, New York, was working on the geothermal system for the new school and hit the gas pocket.

Firefighters from Owego, Newark Valley and Campville worked at the scene in temperatures that lingered in the teens. New York State Electric and Gas, the Tioga County HAZMAT Team and workers from the drilling company also were pressed into action.

Fire crews returned to quarters about three and a half hours after the first call.

There were no injuries.

The excitement did nothing to help OFA basketball team in the STAC playoff game. The Owego boys were defeated by Susquehanna Valley 56-52.

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