The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 8, 2014

Five firefighters hurt in explosion during Crab Orchard fire

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

CRAB ORCHARD — While battling a house fire in Crab Orchard Tuesday evening, five firefighters received minor injuries during an explosion.

Assistant Chief of Sophia Area Fire Department Eric Hatcher said crews responded to a fully engulfed house fire on Hatfield Road around 6 p.m.

Initial reports indicated entrapment, but once firefighters arrived, no one was inside the home.

Hatcher said about five minutes into the fire suppression, an explosion happened and the source is still undetermined.

Five firefighters sustained minor injuries from the explosion, but Hatcher said most of them were not transported by ambulance. They were, however, going to local hospitals to be checked.

Sophia Area, Sophia City, Coal City, Lester, Mabscott and Rhodell fire departments responded to the scene.

The fire was extinguished by 9 p.m. The West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office, along with firefighters from Sophia Area and Sophia City, remained on scene until around 10:30 p.m. to investigate the cause of the explosion.

Sophia City Fire Chief Jeff Pittman initially indicated that he believes an Oxygen tank may have caused the explosion.

The injured firefighters weren’t identified, but Pittman said they were from Sophia City and Coal City.

At this time, the cause of the fire is unknown and no other injuries were reported.

The temperature at the time of the fire was 4 degrees, causing further hazardous conditions for those battling the blaze, the fire chief said. Additional EMS units were on the scene as a precautionary measure because of the cold.