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Chevron gives pizza vouchers after Pa. explosion

February 19, 2014 - Ben Klein
DILLINER, Pa. (AP) — Chevron is drawing criticism on social media for giving out free pizza coupons to people who live near a Pennsylvania gas well that exploded and burned for days, leaving one worker missing and presumed dead.

The fire broke out Feb. 11 at the well in Dunkard Township, near Bobtown, about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh. It burned for four days.

Some critics took to Twitter, blogs and anti-fracking websites Tuesday to criticize Chevron for going to homes near the well and dropping off certificates for a large pizza and two-liter drink from Bobtown Pizza.

A Chevron spokeswoman said the vouchers are a "token of appreciation" for neighbors' patience — and to support the local pizza shop that provided food for first-responders and workers on the site.

From CNN:

Chevron's edible outreach is not sitting well with some recipients.

"Worst apology ever: Sorry our fracking well exploded. Here's a free pizza," one angry Twitter user wrote Tuesday.

"Nice community relations: if you are frightened by fire and explosion, relax, have a pizza!" another tweet stated.

One resident who said he wished to remain anonymous because of Chevron's strong presence in the area told CNN that he received a certificate on Sunday while he and his family were out. He said it was the first and last time they had heard from Chevron regarding the incident.

"It felt like a huge slap in the face," the resident told CNN.

"I do not feel that they've addressed anything. I haven't even called their hotline yet because I'm just too upset. A pizza coupon? I mean come on!"

In a statement to CNN, Chevron stated that the corporation "offered a token of appreciation" to neighbors who were affected by the events.

A letter also accompanied the gift certificates, according to CNN affiliate KDKA, with the letter stating, "Chevron recognizes the effect this has had on the community. We value being a responsible member of this community and will continue to strive to achieve incident-free operations. We are committed to taking action to safeguard our neighbors, our employees, our contractors and the environment."

"We appreciate the strong support we have received from nearby residents as we work to respond to this incident in a safe manner," the Chevron statement said.

The resident who spoke to CNN said he plans to move his family as a result of the incident.

"We're moving as soon as we can. That's not their only well near our house. It's just not safe," he said.

In an update published Tuesday on its website, Chevron said the situation at the well "remains serious and teams are working around the clock to safely approach and shut the well."


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