Local gas plant catches fire... again. - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Local gas plant catches fire... again.

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BLACK BETSY, Wv. -

Neighbors in the community of Black Betsy had a quiet morning interrupted with what they describe as a series of pops.

"We thought it was an explosion," says Brian Willard, a former employee at a chemical plant.

He says he heard some familiar noises from the Airgas plant down the road from his home.

"Boom, and there were some more booms. It went on for a while. It was just those larger propane tanks blowing their tops," says Willard.

The official word from firefighters is that there was no explosion.

Employees say they got out as soon as they started hearing the popping noises.

Bancroft Fire Chief, Eric Mallett says the pops may have come from safety valves that were releasing pressure.

He says now, they are mainly concerned about chemicals in the air.

"Most of our operations lately has just been air monitoring. Just check to make sure the air is safe to go in," says Chief Mallett.

This is the second time this Airgas facility has had a fire in as many months.

Firefighters believe this time, a different gas was involved in a different part of the building.

The prior incident hospitalized two workers.

No one was injured in Wednesday's fire.

"It's like a bullet, you know. If it misses you by a half-inch, it might as well be a mile," says Brian Willard. "That's the way I see things."

Neighbors say while they are used to minor incidents like this one, the possibility of a bigger one is always a concern.