MOUNDSVILLE - Officials are still investigating the cause of a methane gas well explosion in Marshall County that left seven people injured and a section of U.S. 250 closed this morning.
Firefighters from throughout Marshall and Belmont counties continued to battle the fire into the late morning.
At about 1:15 a.m. today, 911 dispatchers received a call from a resident on Beam's Lane reporting a large explosion at a gas well drilling site.
(Photo by Kef Howard)
Fire crews from Marshall County battle this gas well fire on Beam’s Lane off U.S. 250 between Limestone and Moundsville this morning. Workers drilling through an abandoned coal mine ignited methane gas, triggering an explosion and fire. Seven workers were injured, three of whom were taken to West Penn Hopital’s Burn Center.
A crew had been working at the site during the night, drilling for gas through an abandoned coal mine owned by Consol Energy.
According to Marshall County Chief Deputy Kevin Cecil, the workers had very little warning before the explosion.
"We know there were six workers on the well when they started to hear what the men described as a rumbling," Cecil said.
As the crew was attempting to evacuate the area, the blast occurred, Cecil said.
Three men who were closest to the explosion were seriously injured and rushed to West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh, Cecil said.
Four others were transported to Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Glen Dale with minor injuries, Cecil said.
As of mid-morning, firefighters were attempting to control the blaze, while a crew based in Texas was being flown in with equipment to cap the well site, Cecil said.
"Tom Hart from the Emergncy Management office is saying firefighters can only get within about 1,000 feet of the blast site," Cecil said.
"They will have to control the fire until the well can actually be capped, which could be several days," said Cecil.
The Marshall and Belmont county Tanker Task Force is using water from the Ohio River and PSD 4 to control the fire, Cecil said. Relief drivers were summoned from Ohio County volunteer fire departments this morning. Workers with the Salvation Army and the Red Cross were on the scene delivering food and water to emergency personnel.