There were no injuries in an explosion at a West Virginia gas processing plant early Saturday, which rattled homes miles away and led to an evacuation, officials said.
Firefighters and Dominion Gas employees responded to the fire at the Natrium Processing and Fractionation Facility in Marshall County, WV, a company spokesman said. The good news is safety systems activated as planned, officials said.
“It woke us up. It shook the house,” said Jim Hunt, fire chief of the Clarington, Ohio, Volunteer Fire Department, across the Ohio River. “I thought maybe the house next to us or two doors (blew) up. And then I see an orange flame.”
Volunteer departments from Moundsville and New Martinsville and county crews responded, officials said. The fire call came in about 1:30 a.m., said company spokesman Dan Donovan.
The fire remained confined to a small area of the plant, Donovan said. Firefighters allowed the fire to burn itself out. By 8:30 a.m. the fire was out.
Donovan said there was no threat to the public — no one suffered an injury, and all personnel were safe.
Officials closed state Route 2 below Moundsville for several hours, authorities said.
The plant opened this summer, according to Dominion’s website. The facility processes 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day and fractionates 36,000 barrels of natural gas liquids per day.
Blue Racer Midstream and Dominion are assessing damage and started an investigation into the cause of the fire. The plant is in a safe mode, and efforts have begun to return it to operation safely and as quickly as possible.
The 3-million square foot Natrium facility is on the Ohio River, about six miles from New Martinsville, W.Va.
Hunt said residents on both sides of the river felt the blast.
“We had people call us three or four miles away because they felt it,” he said. “They thought downtown (Clarington) had blown up.”