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Dominion Plant Fire Sparks Investigation

By Staff | Sep 25, 2013

The cause of Saturday’s fire at the Natrium Dominion Plant is still unknown. (Photo provided by Kelsey Powell)

Blue Racer Midstream and Dominion are assessing damage and have begun an investigation into the cause of a fire at the Blue Racer Midstream processing plant in Marshall County early Sept. 21.

According to Jim Norvelle, director of Media Relations at Dominion, the plant is in “safe mode, and efforts have begun to return it to operation safely and as quickly as possible.” When asked if he could explain safe mode, Norvelle stated the following: “The station is shut down. There is no danger present to the public or our employees; ie, a safe mode.”

There is no timetable for the investigation, Norvelle has reported.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has requested Dominion provide them with samples of water used to battle the fire to check for possible contamination, according to DEP spokeswoman Kathy Cosco.

A DEP official did not locate any potential environmental dangers during an inspection of the site following the fire, Cosco added. The DEP is not involved in the fire investigation.

“Blue Racer Midstream and Caiman Energy would like to express their gratitude to Tom Hart, Marshall County Emergency Management director, who served as incident commander, and all of the local firefighters and State Police for responding so quickly to the fire,” Blue Racer President Rick Moncrief said in a statement. “As a result of their great work and the outstanding work of our own employees, there were no fatalities or injuries. Many of the local firefighters are volunteer firefighters, and we are thankful for their service.”

The fire was reported about 1:30 a.m. Saturday by a sheriff’s deputy patrolling the area. State Route 2 near the Marshall/Wetzel county line was closed for nearly eight hours and CSX rail transportation was shut down as fire crews worked to extinguish the blaze.

About 25 residents in the Kent area north of the plant were evacuated as a safety precaution. Those residents returned to their homes after about 90 minutes, and the neighborhood had returned to normal by Saturday afternoon.

In addition to the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department and Emergency Management Office, other responding agencies included volunteer fire departments from New Martinsville, Washington Lands, Moundsville, Glen Dale, Roberts Ridge, Grandview, Fork Ridge and St. Joseph, plus Tri-State EMS, Wetzel County EMS, West Virginia State Police, and West Virginia Division of Highways. The American Red Cross River Valley Chapter and Marshall County Schools assisted with shelter operations

The 3 million square foot, $500 million facility, which is a joint venture between Dominion Resources and Caiman Energy, went into service this summer.