Dad and Gary on the scene
One of the biggest things to happen in the early 90’s in the area was the gas well blowout on Franchester Road which took place just a few miles from our house. When they were drilling the well on air, which means the well is exposed all the way up the hole by air, it ignited and a huge explosion and fire ensured. Naturally since dad and Gary Wilhelmy were in the business, we all gravitated to the area along with everyone else from the surrounding region, even the Cleveland news crew. I can still remember the reporting saying “you cannot imagine the heat from this flame, my back is burning, even the camera is about to catch on fire.”
You cannot imagine the gawkers that were stopping by. As the day turned to dusk, the sky remained lit up because of the 200 feet flame coming out of the ground. By this time the rig and the dog house has been burnt up. Eventually they all were backing up the road and keeping the people who needed to be on the scene from making it to the scene like the trucks with mud that ultimately put the well out.
The picture you see below is a little before dad and Gary had to spring into action to direct traffic, keep people away and basically handle everything else besides putting the well out. The crazy part about the whole thing was that neither one of them works for or with the producer or driller, they were just here.
Eventually dad took the Blazer and blocked off the traffic so no one could get through unless he thought they should. Dad was always the person to take charge and to set people in their place when they were out of line…well anyone but himself. He was always able to get away with a lot more than anyone else.
It is crazy to see that picture now.