ARDEN, W.Va. — Two workers are confirmed dead and a third seriously injured in an explosion at a tank on an industrial site in Barbour County. The incident happened just after 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Initial reports to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection indicate the workers are employed at Midland Resources which produces Mercaptan, at a location near the community of Arden in Barbour County. The men were prepping a storage tank for cleaning and were using bleach when the explosion occurred. It’s unclear if the explosion happened inside or outside of the tank.
“We did have two fatalities and we lifeflighted one out,” Barbour County Chief Deputy Brett Carpenter said.
The surviving victim was transported by HealthNet to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. His condition is unknown. The names of those killed were not immediately released.
The explosion site is near the Sentinel Mine but the state Office of Miner’s Safety Health and Training told MetroNews Wednesday the blast was not connected to mining operations.
Investigators from the state Department of Environmental Protection, OSHA, and the state Fire Marshal’s Office along with Barbour County Sheriff’s Department and Barbour County Emergency Services are on the scene.
Carpenter confirmed the explosion ocurred as a chemical tank was being cleaned.
“They do some kind of decontamination of tanks. They put some kind of agent in it to decontaminate it so it can be reused,” Carpenter said.