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2 companies to be fined in Pa. gas well explosion

Federal officials want to fine two western Pennsylvania companies for workplace safety violations for an oil storage tank explosion that killed a pair of welders.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration says Northeast Energy Management Inc. and Huntley & Huntley Inc. should pay penalties of $159,390 and $70,000, respectively, for the July 23 blast at a well site in Cheswick.

OSHA said Tuesday that Northeast, of Indiana, Pa., failed to provide flame-retardant clothing or to ensure the tank being welded was clear of flammable material. Huntley, in Monroeville, was cited for not ensuring Northeast had suitably trained the welders and supervisors.

The companies have 15 business days to contest the citations.

Northeast says it plans to seek a meeting with OSHA. Huntley says it doesn't agree with the proposed fines.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Federal officials want to fine two western Pennsylvania companies for workplace safety violations for a deadly explosion that killed a pair of welders.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that Northeast Energy Management Inc. and Huntley & Huntley Inc. should pay penalties of $159,390 and $70,000, respectively, for the July 23 blast at a Cheswick well site.

OSHA says Tuesday that Northeast, of Indiana, Pa., failed to provide flame-retardant clothing or to ensure the tank being welded was clear of flammable material. Huntley, in Monroeville, was cited for not ensuring that Northeast had suitably trained the welders and supervisors.

The companies have 15 business days to contest the citations.

A company attorney says Northeast will contest the proposed fines. Huntley officials haven't commented.

(This version CORRECTS Northeast plans to meet with OSHA, hasn't said it will contest fines.)

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