Careless Storage Tank Explosion in Doddridge County

by Duane Nichols on May 26, 2018

Doddridge County storage tanks explode & burn

Four Injured In Doddridge Well Tank Explosion

From Local News Reports, Wheeling Intelligencer, May 26, 2018

WEST UNION — Four people were injured Friday morning when out-of-service well tanks exploded in Doddridge County.

The tanks had been moved to a location near 145 Whitehair Lane, located off Cabin Run Road south of U.S. 50 in the southwestern part of the county, where they were being cleaned and cut for scrap, “using some sort of torch,” said Jake Glance, communications director for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

“It appears that the tanks were not completely empty of their contents, and whatever was in the tanks ignited,” Glance said via email.

An initial report provided by Glance said the incident was reported at 10:05 a.m. Friday. It was initially thought to have occurred at a well pad, but Glance said later that was not correct.

The report said oil and gas from the tanks spilled into a nearby stream. However, since the initial report of the blast taking place at a well pad was inaccurate, it was not immediately clear Friday evening what the contents actually were.

“WVDEP is still investigating how much material resulting from this fire reached a nearby stream,” Glance said in the follow-up email.

Doddridge County Emergency Management Agency Director George Eidel said the work was being done in a residential area, with houses surrounding the site. While information was still being gathered, Eidel said he believes all those injured were working on cleaning and disassembling the tanks.

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Brittany Murray May 30, 2018 at 3:07 pm

Cause of fatal Doddridge explosion identified as Hydrocarbon Well Services-owned storage tanks

By Brittany Murray in News, May 29, 2018

WEST UNION, W.Va. — One person involved in Friday morning’s well pad explosion in Doddridge County has died, OSHA officials confirmed Tuesday.

A fire started around 10 a.m. Friday near West Union, causing burn injuries to four workers. Conditions on the other three injured in the incident are not known at this time.

Jake Glance, communications director of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, said the fire did not occur on an active well pad but instead involved three above-ground storage tanks (ASTs) that had been decommissioned several years ago.

“The ASTs were taken to the site where the fire occurred,” Glance said. “Upon initial investigation it appears the tanks were owned by Hydrocarbon.”

Hydrocarbon Well Services is a Buckhannon-based oil and gas company that has serviced the Appalachian region for 35 years.

“The three ASTs were dragged down a dirt access road where they were being cleaned out,” Glance said. “The fire is believed to have occurred when the one active AST associated with this well was being cut up for scrap using a torch. They were decommissioning this active AST in order to replace it.”

Glance said Enviroclean was hired by Hydrocarbon for environmental remediation and that absorbent booms were placed in Cabin Run, a small stream next to the site of the fire, to prevent oil from leaving the site.

Additional booms were placed approximately 700 feet downstream and an underflow dam was installed approximately 100 feet downstream of the initial spill.

“It is uncertain how much oil entered the stream. There were no fish kill,” he said.

Soil remediation at the site was underway over the weekend.

WVDEP is working with local emergency officials and OSHA, who is conducting an investigation into the incident.


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