Braxton County: Police Identify Body Found in Elk River in Gassaway

The Gilmer Free Press

Officials in Braxton County have identified the woman found dead in the Elk River earlier this week as that of Barba Chapman.

Sheriff Deputies said the 82-year-old was found Monday at about 11 AM near the bridge going into Gassaway.

An autopsy is currently being conducted on her body by the State Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the cause of death.

Deputies at this point do not believe her death is suspicious.

Investigators said a family member found Chapman’s body.

Doddridge County Sheriff’s Deputy Involved in Rollover Accident

The Gilmer Free Press

A Doddridge County sheriff’s deputy was involved in a rollover accident Monday morning.

He was taken to United Hospital Center and now released he was checked out.

Doddridge County Sheriff Mike Headley said Deputy Garner was traveling on U.S. Highway 50 East around 6:00 AM he had the rollover accident.

It happened when the deputy swerved to avoid hitting a deer near Doddridge County Middle School.

Sheriff Headly said, “The patrol vehicle hit the median, then rolled over.”

Deputy Garner was taken to United Hospital Center by Doddridge County Ambulance Authority.

Deputy Garner went back to work on Tuesday.

West Union Fire department and Smithburg Fire department also responded to the accident.

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Gassaway: Body Found By Elk River

The Gilmer Free Press


The body of a woman was discovered in the Elk River near Gassaway Monday night.

Braxton County Sheriff’s Department deputies said Tuesday they have identified the woman, but are not releasing the information.

Deputies said although the woman’s family has been notified, there are other family members out of state who have not yet learned of the tragedy.

The investigation into her death is underway.

The woman’s body has been sent to the state Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy to determine a cause of death.

Deputies would not say if foul play is suspected and would not say who found the body.


Crews were on the scene of a body that was found in Braxton County, Monday, December 02, 2013.

Dispatchers say the body was found Monday night by the Elk River in Gassaway, WV.

The victim has not been identified.

Water Rescue in Webster County

The Webster Springs Fire Department Swift Water Rescue Team was dispatched to swollen Sugar Creek late Tuesday night about 8.5 miles from the community of Diana, south of Holly River State Park.

They found Amy Casteel, age 36, stuck on a fallen tree after she had been carried downstream about a quarter of a mile nearly two hours earlier.

Webster County first responders used generators to get light on Sugar Creek to aid in the rescue effort.

The Gilmer Free Press

Webster County Office of Emergency Services Deputy Director Dale Hall said Casteel and her uncle, Jimmie Hines, age 42, had attempted to cross the creek on an ATV at about 9 PM.

They realized it was too deep and attempted to back out but the ATV overturned in the water. Hines made it out of the water but Casteel did not. It took him about an hour to reach a residence to call for help.

Hall said once the rescue team and other volunteers from the Webster Springs, Hacker Valley and Diana volunteer fire departments found Casteel they determined a highline rescue was the only way to reach her.

He said they took a generator, strung extension cords and set up lights so they could see her.

Once rescuers found her and held a light for her–she was able to get out of the water to a debris pile and stayed there until we could get to her.

A member of the swift water rescue team swam over to the other side of Sugar Creek, other team members then threw him the line and he secured it to the trees.

Hall said the team then used a 4:1 lift and put Casteel in a harness, hoisted her into the air and brought her across on a highline.

She was taken to Webster County Memorial Hospital to be treated for hypothermia.

What could have been just a recovery turned into a successful rescue.

There were between 20 and 30 volunteers on the scene and Hall said they will be extra thankful this Thanksgiving.

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Police ID Pennsboro Man Killed in House Explosion

The Gilmer Free Press

A man killed in an explosion at his home in Ritchie County has been identified.

West Virginia State Police Sgt. Clint Boring says that no foul play is suspected in the death of 73-year-old Robert Lee Holmes.

The explosion occurred at Holmes’ home in Pennsboro on October 21, 2013.

An investigation is continuing.

West Virginia State police and the State Fire Marshal believe the explosion was caused by a natural gas leak.

Doddridge County: Two Injured in Well Site Fire

The Gilmer Free Press

One worker with Antero Resources was still being treated at a Pittsburgh, PA hospital Monday following a Sunday accident at a natural gas drilling site in Doddridge County.

The worker was one of the two injured in a fire that happened while the two workers were reportedly installing a sand separator at a well pad located near West Union, WV.

The accident came just a few months after two workers died following an incident at another location for Antero Resources in Doddridge County.

Fatal Fire in Ritchie County

The Gilmer Free Press

The state Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating a second fatal fire in West Virginia from this week.

The blaze took place at about 10:30 PM Monday night at a house on East Miles Ave. in the Pennsboro area.

The victim was a 73-year-old man.

Two Logan County children were killed Monday morning in a blaze near Logan. Investigators said Dontarius Gardner, 3, and Shania Sydney, 4, couldn’t make it out of the back of their duplex on Canton Lane when an electrical problem started the fire.

Minor Earthquake in Braxton County

The Gilmer Free Press

A minor earthquake has shaken the Sutton area in Braxton County, WV.

The National Geological Survey’s shows a magnitude-2.2 earthquake occurred around 5:20 AM. Sunday.

The epicenter was 6 miles west-northwest of Sutton.

No damage has been reported.

Calhoun Fire Destroys A Restaurant

The Gilmer Free Press

Firefighters said a fire that destroyed a Calhoun County restaurant Friday morning in Grantsville isn’t only devastating to the owners but also the community.

“My heart dropped,“ said Graham Knight, Grantsville volunteer firefighter. “It’s a sad thing.“

Responding to a fire at Momma T’s in Grantsville has a personal meaning for volunteer firefighter Graham Knight. Knight used to work at the convenience store and on Friday he was fighting to save it.

“The second I came around and saw the flames my heart dropped a little bit,“ he said.

The restaurant went up in flames about 6 a.m. Hours later smoke was still billowing out of the roof.

“We’re in this for a reason, but it’s never good when you see it,“ Knight said.

The owners said they had just opened the store and were standing outside when they heard a popping noise. The next thing they saw was their business on fire.

Grantsville Fire Chief Craig Gherke said firefighters attacked the blaze as soon as they arrived.

“We pulled in, hit it with the deck gun trying to put the flames out,“ Gherke said. “It just spread from the attic into the store area.“

Firefighters had to attack it from the outside at first because the roof started falling, and it was too dangerous to go in the structure. The entire building and everything inside was destroyed. The owners estimate their losses at $500,000.

“This was their livelihood and how they made a living so they’re taking it kind of hard,“ Gherke said.

The owners haven’t decided if they’re going to rebuild.

Knight said this is a huge loss to this community.

“There’s been a lot of good times for everybody in the county and surrounding counties to come to eat here and talk,“ Knight said. “It’s just kind of a homey feel. It’s sad to see it now.“

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but firefighters think it was electrical in nature.

~~  Bethany Simmons - Katelyn Sykes - WCHS ~~

19 Cattle Killed on I-64 after Escaping West Virginia Farm

The Gilmer Free Press

Greenbrier County emergency officials say 19 cattle were killed by a pair of tractor-trailers after they escaped from a farm and wandered onto Interstate 64.

The accident occurred around 1:43 AM Wednesday in the Alta area.

Several cattle were euthanized because of their injuries.

The others were killed instantly.

The accident closed the eastbound lanes until about 5:00 AM.

One driver suffered minor injuries while the other driver was not injured.

Once Again West Virginia Leads The Nation in Deer Collisions

The Gilmer Free Press

Despite a lower rate of deer/car collisions across the United States, West Virginia remains the most likely state in which a motorist will hit a deer while driving.

“There’s been a decline of about 4.3%,” said Dave Phillips, spokesman for State Farm Insurance.

“West Virginia though is still number one.  The average nationally is about one in 174 to hit a deer, but in West Virginia it’s one in 41.”

West Virginia with its miles of rural roadway has held the dubious distinction in State Farm’s annual survey for seven straight years.

“Even though West Virginia remains number one, that’s an 8.3% reduction from the previous year,” Phillips said. “The crashes are down, but there’s still an issue that those deer are out there.”

The average deer/car collision costs 3,000 dollars in repairs.

Montana is the second most likely state to hit a deer where the chances are one in 65.

Iowa is third with a one in 73 chance.

Rounding out the top five of state’s where you’re most likely to hit a deer are South Dakota at one in 75 and Pennsylvania at one in 77.

State Farm’s data suggests November is the most likely time to hit a deer on the highway.

November is the peak of hunting and rutting season for whitetail deer and makes the more vulnerable to a human interaction.

“The thing is to just be alert we’re headed into that season of the year,” Phillips suggested.

~~  Chris Lawrence ~~

Doddridge School Bus Involved In Accident Near Southridge Walmart

The Gilmer Free Press

A Doddridge County school bus was involved in an accident with another passenger vehicle Friday.

Police said the accident took place at about 4:40 PM near the Walmart At Southridge Centre.

Students were on the bus at the time of the accident, but no one was reported injured.

An ambulance was dispatched to the scene as a precaution.

High School Football 2013: South Harrison Student Still in Medically Induced Coma

The Gilmer Free Press

A senior at South Harrison High School is still in a medically induced coma at Ruby Memorial Hospital following an injury that happened during Friday night’s football game against Lincoln High School.

Dylan Jeffries, age 17, collapsed on the sideline after taking a hit.  Later Friday night, he underwent emergency surgery at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown to have a massive blood clot removed from his brain.

South Harrison Principal Greg Moore said, at this point, it’s not clear if the hit Jeffries took in the fourth quarter of the game caused the problem or if the blood clot was there prior to the tackle.

“When he was tackled, the back of his head did the hit the ground.  That initiated whatever happened,” said Moore.  He said Jeffries was called to the sideline where he collapsed after he ran the wrong direction in the play that followed the hit.  He was taken off the field on a stretcher.

Moore said Jeffries is currently on a ventilator and is being monitored.

“They have to keep an eye on the brain pressures because, whenever you do brain surgery, there’s swelling of the brain and, for four or five days afterwards, that pressure goes up and down and they monitor that,” he said.  The plan is to start bringing Jeffries out of the coma later this week.

Moore said a lot of people are pulling together and hoping for the best for Jeffries.  “Down here at South Harrison, we’re the little rural school of the county and it’s a family community down here,” he said on MetroNews “Talkline.”

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High School Football 2013: Player Seriously Injured

The Gilmer Free Press

A South Harrison High School football player is hospitalized following a serious injury during a game against Lincoln Friday night.

According to the Clarksburg Exponent, Dylan Jeffries underwent surgery at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown for a blood clot on his brain, which led to swelling.

Jeffries, a senior, was taken from the field on a stretcher midway through the fourth quarter.

Lewis County: Deadly Accident Under Investigation

The Gilmer Free Press

A man was killed Friday night when he lost control of his truck and the vehicle slammed into a tree.

West Virginia State Police Troopers are investigating the crash that took place around 8:00 PM on Georgetown Road.

The victim was traveling alone.

Troopers have not release his name.

Fatal Accident: One Dead in Roane County Wreck

The Gilmer Free Press

A person is dead after a Thursday night traffic accident on U.S. Highway 119 in Roane County, WV.

Police say the single vehicle crash happened at around 9:00 PM between Spencer and Gandeeville.

The victim was pronounced dead at Charleston Area Medical Center

Flatwoods: Woman Dead in I-79 Crash

The Gilmer Free Press

Sheriff’s deputies in Braxton County said a woman was killed and a man critically injured in a car crash Tuesday on Interstate 79.

The wreck happened at around 11:50 AM in the southbound lanes near the 64 mile marker between Flatwoods and Sutton.

Deputies said the driver lost control and the car overturned at least three times ending up in the northbound lanes.

Both the woman and man were thrown from the vehicle.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene and the man is in critical condition.

The man was transported to Braxton Memorial Hospital, where he was being treated for serious injuries.

The deputy said the man was expected to be transported to Charleston by helicopter.

Their names have not been released.

Deputies said speed may have been a factor.

The northbound lanes of I-79 were closed immediately after the crash but reopened by 2:00 PM.

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Daily G-Eye™ : 08.22.13

The Gilmer Free Press
A concrete truck hit the guide wire and pulled the electric pole down and it broke in half.
Mineral Road, Glenville, WV on August 21, 2013

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Doddridge County: WV DEP Says Antero Can Resume Work at Fire Site

The Gilmer Free Press

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas has lifted two Cease Operations orders issued to Antero following a fire that occurred July 07, 2013 allowing the company to resume activities on the Ruddy Alt pad in Doddridge County.
As a result of the incident, the Office of Oil and Gas issued a Cease Operations order that called for Antero to provide a report that demonstrated the company knew or understood the cause of the July 07 incident, its ability to safely resume operations on the well pad, outline preventive measures to safeguard against future events and confirm that pollutants were contained on site.
Because the agency found the initial report submitted to be incomplete, the OOG issued a follow-up order that continued the cease operations and asked for more detail.
Antero submitted a subsequent report on Wednesday, August 07, that the agency found to be complete. As the company resumes its operations at the well pad, it is required to:
• conduct three levels of review of its pad equipment layout to ensure distances between potential fuel and potential ignitions sources are maximized;
• wait for an OOG inspector to inspect the installation of all new devices before flow back or well work activity begins;
• install cylindrical storage tanks to provide the highest possible outlet of any gas releases to aid in the dispersion of any possible releases;
• latch all hatches on all flowback tanks to minimize potential gas releases directly to the atmosphere;
• implement a mandatory policy for all personnel on the Ruddy Alt well pad to wear portable gas monitors, unless they are accompanied by someone who is;
• evaluate tank and area ventilation systems on the pad and provide that evaluation to the OOG; and
• submit any final reports on investigations of the incident to close out the record on the incident.

Wreck Kills 1 Teen, Injures 10 in Clay County

The Gilmer Free Press

One teenager is dead and 10 are in the hospital after a pickup truck wrecked in Clay County.

West Virginia State Police says the pickup was carrying a group of high school students when the driver lost control.

The truck wrecked on Route 36 near Wallback around 4:00 AM Wednesday, August 07, 2013.

One victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The others suffered non-life threatening to serious injuries and were taken to a Charleston hospital.

The investigation is continuing.

Doddridge County: WVDEP Orders Antero to Provide More Information

The Gilmer Free Press

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) told Antero Resources they want more information about what the company believes caused an explosion at a Doddridge County natural gas well last month.

Last Thursday’s follow-up order demands that Antero provide all the information the company used in an initial report on the blast.

Click H E R E Read WVDEP Antero Order

The action comes after Antero filed a two-page report on Wednesday that blamed the explosion on a buildup of gas from tanks used to store flow-back water from the process of preparing the well for natural gas production. The report also stated that weather conditions intensified the accumulation potential gas buildup.

Last Wednesday was the legal deadline under an order issued by DEP on July 10, 2013.

DEP inspectors had initially said that the flow-back tanks had exploded, perhaps because of a buildup of either natural gas or other vapors. DEP said that a nearby pump that had malfunctioned could have ignited the gas.

The July 07, 2013 explosion resulted in the deaths of Jason Mearns, age 37, of Beverly on July 28, 2013 and Tommy Paxton, age 45, of Walton on July 24, 2013. Both men were being treated at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh.

Three more men are still in hospital, including Arbogast from Lewis County. Arbogast is a member of Pricetown Fire Department.

The new order did not provide a deadline for Antero to turn in additional information. However, DEP’s original cease operations order remains in effect until the company provides the additional information requested by state officials.

Doddridge County Explosion: Second Death

The Gilmer Free Press

A Randolph County man is the second to die from injuries suffered in the July 07, 2013 gas well explosion at an Antero Resources operation in Doddridge County.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office in Pittsburgh said 37-year-old Jason Mearns from Beverly died Sunday morning.

He was being treated at the West Penn Burn Unit in the weeks since the blast in New Milton, WV.

Roane County resident Tommy Paxton, 45, died last week at the same burn unit from injuries he suffered in the explosion.

OSHA and the West Virginia DEP are continuing their investigations into the incident.

Ritchie County: Argument Leaves One Dead

The Gilmer Free Press

A Ritchie County man was charged with murder over the weekend after allegedly shooting his father to death following an argument.

West Virginia State Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Baylous said troopers from the Harrisville detachment went to a home on Penn Avenue in Pennsboro late Saturday to respond to reports of shots fired.

When they got there, Steven Fisher, age 22, was outside waiting for them, Baylous said.

Baylous said Fisher allegedly shot and killed his father, Michael Clarence Ogle Jr., age 52, with a .357 Magnum revolver after an argument.

Fisher was charged with murder.

He is being held without bond at the North Central Regional Jail.

Braxton County Deputies Say Woman Died After Hitting Fence

The Gilmer Free Press

A Braxton County woman died over the weekend after her vehicle crashed into a fence.

The woman was driving along WV Highway 4 in Gassaway, WV on Sunday, July 21, 2013, when the accident occurred, Braxton County deputies said.

Deputies said that upon impact, part of the fence came crashing into the windshield, striking the woman.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

The woman’s name has not been released.

Ritchie County: Body of Man Found in Pond

The Gilmer Free Press

Police officials are investigating the death of a man whose body was found in a pond near Pennsboro, WV.

The Ritchie County Sheriff’s Department tells media outlets that 43-year-old Kirk C. Guth was reported missing around 11:00 PM Saturday, July 20, 2013.

Guth’s body was found in a pond on his father’s property.

The body has been sent to the state Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

Roane County Woman Killed When Truck Crashed into a House

The Gilmer Free Press

Police have arrested the driver of a pickup truck that crashed into a house in Roane County, killing one person and injuring another.

23-year-old Chaz Simmons of Spencer, WV is charged with DUI causing death and DUI causing injury.

The Roane County Sheriff’s Department says a truck driven by Simmons ran off Route 36 and hit the house near Looneyville around 3:00 AM Thursday, July 18, 2013.

Thirty-year-old Kelly Casto was killed and 38-year-old William Cottrell was severely injured.

Cottrell is listed in serious condition at Charleston Area Medical Center.

Police say Casto and Cottrell were asleep inside the house when the accident occurred.

Simmons was treated for minor injuries and released.

Roane County Man Killed in I-77 Crash

West Virginia State Police say two men checking on a fox den made a grim discovery in Jackson County, WV on Tuesday, July 16, 2013.

The men found a pickup truck partially submerged in Sand Creek near I-77.

The driver Carey Emery, Age 57, of Reedy, WV was dead and troopers estimate he had been there three to five days.

“The neighbor fortunately had noted a fox den in the past and occasionally went out there to check it out,” said State Trooper J.P. Murphy. “If he hadn’t done that, there’s no telling how long this gentleman would have been in the river.”

The Gilmer Free Press
Volunteer firemen recovered the body

Murphy said Emery lived alone and did not have regular contact with anybody, so he had not been missed.

Troopers believe Emery was headed south on I-77.

They found his tire tracks in the median where he traveled 333 feet to the edge of the road before his truck went airborne over a 50 to 60 foot embankment.

“The truck went airborne another 130 feet as it was dropping the 50 to 60 feet,” said Murphy. “It landed nose first on some rocks and flipped end over end and landed in the creek.”

Murphy said the water level in the creek had dropped since the accident. It’s unclear what caused Emery to lose control.

~~  Chris Lawrence ~~

WVDEP Issues Cease Operations Order to Antero

The Gilmer Free Press

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas has issued a Cease Operations Order to Antero Resources in connection with the company’s Ruddy Alt gas well pad in Doddridge County.

The Ruddy Alt pad was the site of a July 07, 2013 well fire in which five workers were injured during operations on the well.

The cause of the fire on the pad’s Hinterer Unit 1H well is under investigation.

As part of the OOG order, which halts all well work on the Ruddy Alt pad, Antero must submit a report to the OOG on or before July 31, 2013, that demonstrates a knowledge and understanding as to the cause of the July 07, 2013 incident; demonstrates Antero’s ability to safely resume operations on the well pad; outlines future preventive measures that will safeguard from similar future incidents; and confirm that any possible pollutants were contained on site.

Antero Well in Doddridge County to Remain Closed After Blast

The Gilmer Free Press

State regulators have ordered Antero Resources to cease operations at a north-central West Virginia gas well pad where five workers were burned in an explosion.

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas said Friday the cause of Sunday’s fire at the Hinterer 1H well near New Milton in Doddridge County remains under investigation.

Colorado-based Antero must submit a report to the DEP by July 31 explaining what caused the accident and how it plans to safely resume operations.

The report must also include preventive measures the company plans to avoid similar incidents.

Antero says methane gas ignited as the crew was completing the well.

The DEP said the blast ruptured two tanks containing flow back water, but the secondary apparently containment system captured the fluid as designed.

WV State Police: Braxton Boy Deceased for ‘A Considerable Amount of Time’

A Braxton County mother was jailed and charged with child neglect resulting in death following the loss of her 8-year-old son.

Sgt. Michael Baylous from West Virginia State Police talked about the case on Friday in South Charleston.

West Virginia State Police were called when hospice caregivers were turned away by Valarie Brown, age 38, at the front door of her Sutton home on several occasions.

Her son Levi Burroughs was under the care of hospice because he suffered from Hurler’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes organ damage and eventual death.

Most children afflicted with Hurler’s Syndrome do not live past the age of 10.

The Gilmer Free Press
Sgt. Michael Baylous

“Obviously, [hospice] felt there was a need to get in there and provide treatment for this child and they were being denied that access,” explained First Sgt. Michael Baylous with the West Virginia State Police.

When the trooper arrived with a hospice worker on Thursday, Mrs. Brown once again resisted letting anyone into the home, but eventually allowed them inside. They found Levi deceased in a bed, wrapped in a blanket, his body partially decomposed.

Baylous said the child had been dead for “a considerable amount of time.”

“The child was denied care, denied care!  Mrs. Brown did not allow Hospice to come in and provide the proper care and treatment that that child needed.”

Investigators are awaiting the results of an autopsy. What they find will be key to determining if Brown is charged with a more serious crime.

Baylous said the treatment of the boy was unconscionable.

“Here’s a child, in his last hours, was in conditions…He wasn’t in a loving and compassionate environment,” stated Baylous. “This child died alone!”

Police said they are familiar with Brown and “her pattern of behavior.” She’s been arrested on more than one occasion for drug related crimes.  Now investigators want to find out what she was doing in the last few days of her son’s life.

“We want to know where Ms. Brown was during that entire time and what she was out doing,” according to Baylous.  “Our investigators will work tirelessly on this.”

Brown also has a 6-year old son. He was last seen at the home this past weekend, but was staying with a grandparent at the time Brown was taken into custody.

She’s being held at the Central Regional Jail on $100,000 bail.

~~  Jennifer Smith ~~

Explosion at Doddridge County Fracking Site Seriously Injures Four

Federal investigators are trying to figure out what caused an explosion at Doddridge County fracking site over the weekend.

The blast injured at least seven people, including four workers who were sent to a hospital with life-threatening burns.

Residents and activists have long complained about safety practices by frackers operating in the state, where they draw natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation.

Traffic accidents involving trucks traveling to and from frack sites in the state are common, and explosions can be deadly.

Hydraulic fracturing was not underway at the time of Sunday’s blast in Doddridge County, WV.

The explosion occurred 50 yards away from the work crew and it did not involve the drilling rig.

From Reuters:

Two storage tanks containing brine and fracking fluid from the well exploded at 4 AM EDT on Sunday Antero spokesman Alvyn Schopp said. Five workers were taken to hospital with burns, he said.

“We do not know the ignition source, but we suspect it was a methane explosion,” said Schopp, vice president at Antero, an oil and natural gas company controlled by Warburg Pincus LLC.


The Gilmer Free Press
Fracking fFire at a Wetzel County Frack Site in 2010


The cause of the explosion remains a mystery, but it could not have come as a huge surprise to fed-up residents of the state.

In April, two workers were killed and two others were injured by an explosion at a frack site in Tyler County, WV, though the story was quickly buried amid news of the Boston marathon bombings.

Also in April, AlterNet published a feature article that cataloged frackers’ shoddy safety records in West Virginia, and described the pollution that they cause.

The piece includes a series of photographs of accidents, including the photo here , of a fire that burned for more than a week at a well site in September 2010:

“It burned for something like nine days,” Ed Wade, the resident who shot the photograph, told AlterNet. “But the [West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection] said there were no cases of air pollution. You believe that?”

~~  John Upton ~~

Doddridge County: Antero Idles WV Well Site; 5 Workers Burned

The Gilmer Free Press

A fire at a natural gas drilling site in Doddridge County is under investigation after 8 workers were injured.

It happened Sunday around 4 AM at an Antero Resources operation near New Milton.

BANCS Volunteer Fire Chief Randy Trent said he got the call that the VFD needed to assist emergency services with a burn patient but soon got word it was a lot worse.

“Just after we left our station, our dispatch came back and told us there was a well fire and numerous burn patients,” explained Trent.

In fact, the crew hadn’t even arrived on scene when they met up with some of the victims.

“As we were traveling towards the scene, on West Virginia Route 18, we met different private vehicles that had patients in them,” according to Trent. “We were able to get some of them transferred to ambulances.”

The crew then headed to the accident site. Trent says he and a worker from Antero were the first to inspect the scene. They found two fracking tanks on fire. They were more than 50-feet away from the actual drilling rig. Flames were shooting about 8-10 feet into the air.

The firefighters brought their equipment to the drill pad and were able to extinguish the flames.

“We were able to use foam and put the fire out,” said Trent.

Eight workers were injured in the fire. Five of them were flown to the West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh according to a spokesman from Antero. Three others were transported to local hospitals. No word yet on their conditions.

Trent said it was a difficult situation to handle.

“Anytime you’re dealing with the severely injured like we were [Sunday], it’s a very traumatic situation, if not a scary situation.”

OSHA has been called in to investigate. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection was also notified.

This was not the first fire at an Antero site here in West Virginia. Last year, a fire at an Antero drilling site in Harrison County injured three workers. The company was cited by the DEP.

Antero operates 15 drilling sites, in seven counties in West Virginia. The company is based out of Denver, Colorado.

~~  Jennifer Smith ~~

Doddridge County: Gas Well Explosion

The Gilmer Free Press

As the result of a gas well explosion eight (8) workers were injured.

The blast happened about 4:00 AM early Sunday morning, July 07, 2013 at a well site off of Brushy Fork Road in New Milton owned by Antero Resources.

Antero Resources confirmed the location of the accident as the Hinterer 2H Well on the Ruddy Alt Pad.

An investigation is underway into the explosion.

Four of the workers were transported to the West Penn Burn Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

The others were taken to in-state hospitals.

There is no word on their conditions at this time.

The company operates 15 drilling rigs, in 7 counties, in North Central West Virginia.

Antero is based out of Denver, Colorado.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the WVDEP inspectors were on the scene early Sunday morning following the explosion.

the West Virginia Department of Oil and Gas was also alerted.

Antero Resources has also contacted a third party to investigate and inspect the well site.

According to Kevin Kilstrom, Vice President of Production for Antero Resources, the well was drilled and completed, and crews were preparing to enter production tubing into the well.

In addition to the well two frack tanks were a part of the accident.

ATV and Car Collision in Doddridge County

The Gilmer Free Press

According to a Doddridge County Sheriff Deputy an ATV driven by Rocky Locke, Age 28, of Doddridge County, WV, struck a car in a T-bone style collision while traveling on Route 23 near Roundbottom Road.

Locke was flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital by Air Evac Lifeteam.

The driver of the car did not sustain serious injuries.

Locke suffered extensive injuries and is currently in critical condition at Ruby Memorial Hospital.

Harrison County Prosecutor to Seek Charge in Boy’s Shooting

The Gilmer Free Press

Harrison County Prosecutor Joe Shaffer says he’ll seek an indictment of a Jarvisville woman who shot her 11-year-old grandson to death while firing a weapon in the dark at suspected intruders.

Shaffer said he wants a grand jury to consider the case against 57-year-old Tina Owens when it meets in September.

Sheriff Albert Marano says Owens fired multiple shots from a .40-caliber handgun Sunday night.

One pierced the wall of her son’s home about 200 yards away.

The bullet hit William Owens in the chest as he lay in bed.

Other children in the home at the time were unharmed.

Shaffer says gun ownership and the responsibility that accompanies it are important public issues, and 16 citizens should consider it.

He says it’s a difficult but necessary decision.

Grandma Accidentally Shoots 11-Year-Old Harrison County Boy

The Gilmer Free Press

An 11-year-old West Virginia boy died of a gunshot wound to the chest after one of several bullets his grandmother had fired at suspected intruders went through his bedroom wall.

William Owens was lying in his bed just before midnight Sunday when a bullet from the .40-caliber handgun pierced the trailer’s wall and struck him, Harrison County Sheriff Albert Marano said Monday.

Tina Owens, 57, had not been charged as of Monday afternoon, but Marano said the investigation was continuing. The results will be turned over to the Harrison County prosecutor’s office, which will decide whether to pursue charges.

Tina Owens’ home and the boy’s home are about 200 yards apart in the rural area of Jarvisville, Marano said. Tina Owens and her son both went outside their homes when they heard what they thought were intruders.

“She thought they were tampering with her property,“ Marano said, “and she fired multiple times to scare them off.“

It’s unclear whether there were any intruders. Marano said deputies found no one else at the scene when they arrived.

Marano said other children were in the home at the time, but no one else was hurt.

Clay County:  Man Killed after Pointing Gun at Troopers

The Gilmer Free Press

West virginia State Police Troopers shot and killed a Clay County, WV man Wednesday morning, June 26, 2013 while trying to execute a search warrant.

WV State Police Spokesman First Sgt. Michael Baylous says the agency’s Special Response Team and a team from the federal Drug Enforcement Unit knocked on the door of the house on Maysel Laurel Road at 6:05 AM.

“When the Special Response Team knocked and announced their presence the suspect didn’t open the door for them, so they had to breach the door,” Baylous said. “When they did breach the door they encountered the suspect with a weapon pointed toward the troopers.”

Troopers fired and the man was killed.

He is identified as Richard Dale Kohler, age 66, from Maysel.

“Troopers had to respond to the immediate threat,” Baylous said.

State Police officers were attempting to serve the search warrant as part of an ongoing drug investigation.

Baylous said once they saw the man with the gun pointed at them there was no time for negotiations.

“When something like that happens you immediately revert back to your training and your instincts and your knowledge that you’ve accumulated through the years and you respond to the threat,” Baylous said.

An Accident in Doddridge County Claims One Life and Multiple Injuries

The Gilmer Free Press


Those involved in accident were:

Mindy Weaver, age 30, of Bridgeport, WV who died was traveling west and lost control of her vehicle.

Vehicle which was collided by Weaver was driven by David Naill, age 43, from Maryland.

Karen Lemmert, age 43 from Maryland was passenger with Naill.

Lemmert and Naill sustained injuries and were transported to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown and listed in critical condition.

A juvenile passenger in Weaver’s car was also flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital.


The accident happened on U.S. highway 50 on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 about 5:40 PM.

According to West Virginia State Police a car travelling west crossed the median and hit a car travelling eastbound near the Long Run Road in Doddridge County, WV.

West Virginia State Police has confirmed one person was killed and three others were flown from the accident.

HealthNet and AirEvac Lifeteam were both on the scene.

Three people injured were flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown by medical helicopters.

No Names have been released by the officials.

WV State Police as well as Doddridge County Sheriff’s Deputies, Doddridge County Ambulance Authority, Doddridge EMS and West Union Fire Department were at the scene og the accident.

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