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Ambulance service sues Rice Energy over payment for Marcellus well pad fire

June 30, 2017 GMT

An Ellsworth ambulance service is suing Rice Energy Inc. over a roughly $27,000 bill it claims the natural gas producer owes from a Jan. 1 fire at a Marcellus shale well pad in Somerset Township.Bearcat EMS Inc., which sent its four ambulances and called out additional employees that day to respond to the explosion and fire at the Papa Bear well pad, accuses Rice Energy and its subsidiary Rice Drilling B LLC refused to pay an invoice following the incident in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Washington County Court.No injuries were reported from the fire, which Rice attributed to an equipment failure involving a pump at the Lusk Road site.The driller has contended it doesn’t owe Bearcat for services that day.Erik Fargo, an attorney with Rice, said in a March 15 letter the company “stands by its position it is not responsible for these charges and therefore will not be paying the invoice.“In the letter addressed to Bearcat’s attorney, John Petrisek, Fargo said county 911 dispatchers, not Rice, called Bearcat to the scene and “your client did not ultimately provide any services to any Rice employees or contractors.“Petrisek wrote in court papers his client “provided emergency medical and support services to other first responders” for at least four hours that day.He argued Rice benefited from his client’s services during an incident that had the “potential for a greater catastrophe and/or mass injuries” at the time Bearcat was sent there.Bearcat sent Rice an invoice for $26,742 two weeks after the fire. Bearcat is asking a judge to award it the amount of the invoice, plus $4.40 a day in interest since Feb. 14.