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Three Hurt In Wetzel County Well ‘Flash Fire’

By Staff | Nov 2, 2016

Photo by Lauren Matthews Medical helicopters wait at the Wetzel County 4-H Grounds near New Martinsville Friday to transport burn victims from a natural gas well pad fire off Turkey Run Road.

NEW MARTINSVILLE Two natural gas well operators and a mechanic suffered burn injuries at Stone Energy Corp.’s Howell pad in Wetzel County after a “flash fire” Friday afternoon, according to West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater.

According to an official statement from Stone Energy, the injured remain in a hospital, are in stable condition, and are expected to make a full recovery.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the workers and their families,” the statement read.

The statement from Stone Energy was sent from Florence Ziegler, Senior Vice President Human Resources, Communications and Administration at Stone Energy.

The Howell pad is located along Turkey Run Road off W.Va. 20 between New Martinsville and Reader.

According to Stone Energy’s statement, “a piece of equipment caught fire.”

Gillenwater said the workers were performing maintenance on the well when the flash fire took place at approximately 4:49 p.m. All three workers were transported to hospitals via medical helicopter for injuries of uncertain severity.

The fire was contained by about 6 p.m., according to Gillenwater.

“All the wells on the pad are shut in,” Gillenwater said at the time. “We believe the situation is under control.”

She said only the three burned workers were injured, adding the fire did not spread throughout the pad. The DEP would monitor the situation through the evening and weekend, she said.

Wetzel County Emergency Management Agency Director Edgar Sapp said Reader, Wileyville, New Martinsville, and Paden City volunteer fire departments all responded to the fire. Sapp said Wileyville VFD arrived on scene and requested three ambulances. Sapp said three helicopters were placed on standby and flew the inured out of the Wetzel County 4-H grounds.

Sapp said the emergency did not warrant any evacuation of residents, as the pad was located at a good distance away from any residences. Sapp noted that emergency responders did a “pretty good job,” being able to acquire three ambulances in the amount of time that they did.

Likewise, Sapp noted that he couldn’t recall a previous situation when three helicopters were necessary.

Stone Energy, a Lafayette, La.-based company, recently filed for bankruptcy.

Lauren Matthew contributed to this story.