Update: Gas Well Fire Injures 5 Workers in Doddridge County - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Update: Gas Well Fire Injures 5 Workers in Doddridge County

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Courtesy: Diane Pitcock Courtesy: Diane Pitcock
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New Milton -

--Update: Monday, 11:49 a.m.--

Investigators are at the site of a gas well explosion that happened at an Antero well site off Brushy Fork Road in New Milton around 4 a.m. Sunday.

Antero Spokesman Al Schopp said five men are at the West Penn Burn Center suffering from varying degrees of burns. OSHA officials identified the contracting companies the men were working for as Nabors Completion and Production Service, C and R Downhole Drilling LLC, and Willowbend Investments Incorporated.  The identities of the men and their conditions have not been released.

Schopp said investigators continued working at the site Monday morning and that regular operations have been shut down. OSHA has six months to complete its investigation and issue citations, if necessary.

OSHA, the W.Va. DEP, and two independent companies that Antero has hired are working to determine the source of what caused the gas well to ignite.

Check back for updates.

--Update: Sunday, 10:39 p.m.--

A spokesperson with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said inspectors reported that five people were taken to the emergency room, but their conditions are unknown.

Two tanks were ruptured as a result of the explosion. It is believed that a pump that the employees were working on may have ignited vapors in the immediate area, causing the tanks to rupture. Other tanks on the site were damaged, too. It is not clear whether there was a fire that continued to burn, or if the explosion consumed all of the vapor.

The well on that pad is a horizontal well, that had just recently been drilled, but had not yet been fractured.

DEP will be back at the site Monday. It will continue to gather information to ensure that the cause is identified. It also will assess whether there are any environmental affects from the material in the tanks that spilled when the tanks ruptured.

The DEP's Office of Oil and Gas has had two inspectors at the scene.  A representative from OSHA is also on the scene.

---Update 2:15 p.m.--

Antero Resources confirmed the location of the accident as the Hinterer 2H Well on the Ruddy Alt Pad.  It said that three wells are on that pad, off of Brushy Fork Road in New Milton, Doddridge County.

According to the company, the Federal and State OSHA Offices were alerted, in addition to the West Virginia Department of Oil and Gas. 

--Update 2:00 p.m.--

According to Kevin Kilstrom, Vice President of Production for Antero Resources, five contract workers were taken to the West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh after a fire and possible explosion at a well site in New Milton, Doddridge County.  Kilstrom said the extent and severity of injuries were unknown as of 1:45 p.m. on Sunday.  Kilstrom could not confirm how many other workers were taken to area hospitals, but the Doddridge County EMS reported that eight workers were injured in Sunday morning's accident. 

Antero Resources could not yet release the name of the contractors involved in the accident, but said that three contracting companies were involved.

Kilstrom confirmed that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was alerted. Kilstrom also said that normal protocol would include notifying the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Antero Resources has contacted a third party to investigate and inspect the well site.  As of 1:45 p.m. the well site was shut down for inspections and investigations. 

Kilstrom said the well was drilled and completed, and crews were preparing to enter production tubing into the well.  Two frack tanks were a part of the accident.

--Original Story--

Eight gas well workers were injured after an explosion at a gas well site in Doddridge County Sunday morning.

The Doddridge County EMS said storage tanks exploded around 4 a.m. at an Antero well site off Brushy Fork Road in New Milton.

The workers were taken to local hospitals by ambulance, four of them were later flown to West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Stay tuned to 12 News for any new developments.