Doug Burdick, vice-president of the Ergon refining division, has released a statement regarding the Memorial Day weekend fire at the company’s Newell, West Virginia petroleum refining plant.
The plant caught fire late May 29 and was extinguished the morning of May 30.
Newell residents had to evacuate for a short period of time.
This is the plant’s second fire in nearly two months. The plant also caught fire in April. There were no injuries in the April fire or in this latest fire.
Burdick stated the fire was in the Unifiner process, which is one of the units involved in making gasoline. He reported Ergon officials are “currently taking deliberate steps to ensure a safe restart of all areas of the plant except the Unifiner.”
He also noted, “We are so appreciative of efforts of all who responded to the fire at Ergon – West Virginia Saturday night and thankful we can report there were no injuries. In addition to the Ergon employees who helped fight the fire, I would like to thank all the fire departments that came to our assistance and those that were on standby. Also responding were the Office of Emergency Management, the Hancock County 911 Communications Center, Weirton Salvation Army and many members of local law enforcement and ambulance companies. All of us at Ergon are incredibly thankful to be part of this community and we appreciate your outpouring of support.”
The statement reflected Ergon’s commitment to the safety of employees and neighbors. “An investigation team with both Ergon and independent representatives has been assembled. We are taking this process slowly and being very methodical. We want a safe startup and will always consider safety over production,” Burdick added.