Authorities are investigating the cause of an explosion at a gas well compression station site in Tyler County. The Twin Hickories Road compression station explosion happened on Thursday, April 11, 2013 in Wick near Middlebourne. The facility is owned by Marietta, Ohio based Eureka-Hunter. Three people employed by third-party contractors suffered severe burns and were flown directly to the West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh. A fourth employee was injured, but treated and released at a local hospital.
Later, Eureka officials corrected initial reports. The senior vice president of Eureka Hunter clarified the reported explosion was a flash fire, and the location was a pig receiving station along the pipeline, not a compression station as first reported. The “pig” is a device to clean out pipelines to remove accumulated liquids. This particular line carried methane as well as natural gas liquids such as ethane, propane and butane from the wellhead.
At about 7 p.m. on April 11th, Tyler County 911 received a call from a Eureka Hunter employee of an explosion with storage tanks on fire and at least two people injured at the Twin Hickories Road compression station near Wick, W.Va.
Fire and emergency responders were sent to the scene along with the Tyler County Sheriff Deputies. According to a press release, fire units from Shirley, Alma, Middlebourne, Sistersville, as well as Saint Mary’s from Pleasants County and Paden City from Wetzel County, responded.
Two Tanks on Fire near Tyler County Compression Station
“When we arrived on scene we had a track-hoe on fire and two tanks were on fire,” said a member of the Middlebourne VFD. “This was not a well, this was a compressor station.”
It was reported the workers were using a new piece of equipment to “pig” the line. However, it’s unclear what caused the fire. The blaze was intense and rekindled several times due to the heat. He said firemen took more than an hour to get it out. Early reports indicated the natural gas liquids in the tanks fueled the fire. The fire remained above ground and did not progress to the underground pipelines.
“We went in and shut the valves off feeding the tanks. What was burning was what was in the tanks on top. It was very flammable,” he said. “It kept reigniting and burning off. We climbed on the tank, shut the lid, and put it out.”
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http://wvmetronews.com/three-burned-in-compressor-fire/ WV MetroNews, by Chris Lawrence, April 12, 2013