Allegany

Dimes Energy attorney Eric Firkel (left) speaks with Allegany resident Tony Irizarry following a January 2020 Town of Allegany meeting. A number of residents attended the meeting with concerns that oil well drilling in their area by Dimes may be linked to a house explosion, and could cause water well contamination.

ALLEGANY — The attorney for Dimes Energy says the company has cooperated fully with state environmental officials in the aftermath of a 2019 explosion that destroyed a home in Allegany, but there has been no evidence that Dimes’ oil and gas drilling in the area was related to the blast.

In an email to the Olean Times Herald, attorney Eric Firkel provided the following statement:

“As general counsel to Dimes Energy, LP, I can state that over the past year, Dimes has worked with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to investigate the Volz incident,” referring to a blast that destroyed the West Branch Road home of Ron and Betty Jo Volz on Nov. 18, 2019.

“We are back to work, developing oil and gas wells in the area and working in conjunction with the DEC to ensure our operations are as safe as possible,” Firkel wrote in the email.

An article appeared in Wednesday’s edition of the Times Herald on the one-year anniversary of the explosion, which occurred while Ron and Betty Jo Volz were not at home.

Dimes Energy wells are located on the hillside above the couple’s former home, as well as other homes on that road and the Four Mile Road. The couple and other neighbors in the area are still seeking answers to what caused the explosion.

In addition to the blast, some residents in that area say the water in their wells has been affected by the drilling. The Volzes have since moved into another home in the village of Allegany, but continue to own and pay taxes on the now-vacant property on West Branch Road.

“On the Volz incident, it has been (12) months and no evidence has been presented that Dimes’ operations had anything to do with the explosion,” Firkel stated in his email. “We are glad that no one was harmed and wish Mr. and Mrs. Volz the best. We would also like to note that this incident highlights the importance of properly venting water wells.”

Firkel added, “The Volz home and many others in this region are on historical oil fields, and it is very important to ensure that homewners take all steps necessary to ensure their safety, particularly with older water wells that were not installed up to current building codes.

“Dimes is happy to be a part of this community and to continue creating jobs for our employees and our 70 (plus) contractors.”

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)

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