The state fire marshal’s office and several other agencies are reportedly headed to Ohio County to investigate Sunday night’s fire and explosion at a Southwest Energy well pad in the Warwood area near Wheeling.

The explosion, in a so-called Gas Buster frack tank, rattled windows for several blocks from the site at 1828 Cherry Hill Road, just before 11 p.m.

27 workers were on site, two of whom were seriously injured.

We have learned one was immediately flown to a Pittsburgh burn center. The second was treated locally then also flown to a Pittsburgh hospital.

“Obviously, our first priorities were for the two patients and the other 25 workers there so they mustered to the side and they were safe. We took care of the injuries and then Clearview Fire Department and West Liberty Fire Department fought the fire. Because it’s a well site, there is no close water source so we called in the tanker task force. So, with the addition of foam, they were able to extinguish the tank fire.”

Lou Vargo, Ohio County EMA Director

Officials say the fire was out in about 20 minutes. But the EMA and other departments were on the scene for hours, to guard against further explosions.

The Ohio County Sheriff’s Department provided traffic control and the Wheeling Fire Department brought additional resources.

Vargo says there were three lines going into the tank, and they were immediately shut down, as well as the well pad itself, although the drilling rig was not affected.

He says the operation will be down for several days at least, during the investigation.

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