Firewater. That’s an old term meaning whiskey, or some other type of strong booze. Right?
Well, for a Dixie, La., family, “firewater” means the stuff that comes out of their faucets every day. Until they switched to public water recently, the Parker family had something leaking into the private well on their property — something very flammable.
"I did it because I'd seen it on TV before and a flame came up," explained Sarah Evans, daughter of John and Josephine Parker, about why she decided to take a butane lighter to her parents' water faucet. The family owns two homes on the property. They live in one, their son in the other.
Noticing that the water pressure in her parents’ home was so strong that simply turning on the kitchen faucet caused a near-geyser, Evans walked next door to her brother’s house and tried the experiment there, as well as at her parents' home.
"His blew up and caught the fringe of the curtains," Evans recounted. "That's how high the flames came up.”
The photo above is the Parkers’ actual faucet, with water catching fire.
The family suspected that the cause may be methane gas leaking into their well from a nearby oil-drilling project. The oil company, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, told local KSLA-TV News that they are investigating the possibilty, but in the meantime, they took it on themselves to supply the Parker family with several cases of clean water, simply because the company wants to be “good neighbors,” a spokesperson said.
"At this time, no one knows the source of this issue, and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Office of Conservation has been notified so that a third-party expert can collect samples, conduct further testing and determine the source," said the spokesperson, John Christiansen, in a written statement to the TV station.
But one hydrologist — that is, a scientist who studies water supplies — is skeptical that the cause will be found in the oil wells.
"I'd have to look at it case by case, but we have no examples where we have actually seen natural gas coming in from a well that was drilled nearby," said scientist Gary Hanson, who specializes in similar cases.
SOURCES: KSLA News, CNN/WJLA