UPDATE: 1 person dead following explosion in Doddridge County

Emergencies
Doddridge County Explosion

UPDATE (5/29/18 at 3:30 p.m.):

According to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Enforcement Office, two of the three aboveground storage tanks involved in Friday’s explosion were decommissioned several years ago. The third tank is part of an active oil and gas well, officials said, but was taken to the site where the explosion occurred to be decommissioned.

DEP officials said the tanks were dragged down a dirt access road, where they were being cleaned out, and the explosion is believed to have occurred when the active tank was being cut up for scrap using a torch.Enviroclean was hired by Hydrocarbon for environmental remediation after the explosion, DEP officials said. A small stream, Cabin Run, is located next to the site where the explosion occurred, and absorbent booms were placed in the stream to prevent oil from leaving the site, officials said. Additional booms were placed approximately 700 feet downstream from the spill, and an underflow dam was installed approximately 100 feet downstream.

DEP officials said it is uncertain how much oil entered the stream, but the spill did not lead to a fish kill.

Soil remediation at the site of the explosion was also underway over the weekend, DEP officials said.

The WVDEP-EE is working with local emergency officials and OSHA, who is continuing their investigation.


UPDATE (5/29/18 at 2 p.m.):

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the employees involved in Friday’s incident, in which an explosion killed one man in Doddridge County, were working for Hydrocarbon Well Services, which is located in Buckhannon.

An OSHA spokesperson said the employees were removing oil tanks and cleaning them, which involves cutting them open. One of the tanks they were cutting open exploded, the spokesperson said.

OSHA is investigating the explosion and has a total of six months to conduct their investigation and release findings, according to the spokesperson.


UPDATE (5/27/18 at 5:46 p.m.):

One person died following an explosion Friday in Doddridge County.

Barry Lattea, 51, of Weston, died at approximately 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Lattea was transported on Friday to UPMC after he suffered burn injuries from the explosion. His cause of death was determined to be from thermal and inhalation injuries. 


UPDATE (5/25/18 at 3:46 p.m.):

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas inspectors said that the fire did not happen on a well pad. 

The tanks had been moved to the location on Whitehair Lane to be cleaned up and cut up for scrap using some type of torch, according to the DEP.

“It appears that the tanks were not completely empty of their contents, and whatever was in the tanks ignited,” DEP officials said.

The DEP will continue to investigate how much material from the fire reached a nearby stream. 


UPDATE (5/25/18 at 1:03 p.m.):

Doddridge County Emergency Manager George Eidel said workers were removing three small, aboveground tanks containing oil when they exploded. 

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said that oil also contaminated a nearby stream.

The four people transported from the explosion were working on the tanks, Eidel said.


UPDATE (5/25/18 12:42 p.m.):

The explosion happened at 145 Whitehair Lane in West Union, according to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. 

Four people were transported by four helicopters for burns, according to the DEP.


ORIGINAL (5/25/18 11:57 a.m.):

Doddridge County 911 officials said four people were flown from an explosion in West Union.

Photo Courtesy: Smithburg Fire Department, Facebook

The explosion happened at about 10 a.m. Friday morning, according to 911 officials. 

Multiple emergency units responded to the explosion on Whitehair Lane, 911 officials said.  

Stay with 12 News details as they become available. 

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