Wheeling WV Gas Well Explosion: 7 injured as flames reach 70 feet high

06/07/2010 // WPB, FL, USA // Nicole Howley // Nicole Howley

Wheeling, WV—A pocket of methane gas ignited, shooting flames up to 70 feet into the air as a drilling crew was trying to reach a natural gas well. Seven workers were injured when the gas ignited at an abandoned coal mine in West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle on Monday, June 7, 2010, as reported by the Post-Gazette.

Crews from 20 fire departments were dispatched to the scene, where they were met with a column of fire at least 70 feet high.

Seven workers were rushed to hospitals in the Wheeling area before they were transported to the West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh, where they are listed in fair condition. Union Drilling reportedly employs five of the injured workers and two worked for BJ Services Co., of Houston Texas.

Officials are not sure what caused the pocket of gas to catch fire. A team of well fire experts has been called to the scene to determine the best way to extinguish the fire.

Union Drilling has reportedly drilled through the same mine before. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be investigating the fire. But OSHA investigators will not be able to conduct an investigation until the fire is put out.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for West Virginia workplace accident lawyers.

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