Courtesy photo
This photo shows flames shooting from where the explosion occurred.

MIDDLE GRAVE CREEK, W.Va. — Residents living near the Williams Energy Oak Grove plant construction site in Marshall County were awakened by an explosion Saturday morning. A 12-inch natural gas line running near the plant ruptured at just after 8 a.m.

“It was a very loud explosion. I got up and looked out the window. It sounded like a plane, like a jet engine liner was going over the top of my house,” Fork Ridge Road resident Roger Dobbs told MetroNews Saturday. “I looked out the back window and you could see the smoke flying high in the sky and the flames going up.”

The site is about a mile from Dobbs’ home. The line is owned by a subsidiary of Williams, LP and carries unprocessed natural gas from production wells according to a statement from the company.

Emergency officials initially believed the rupture may have been caused by a mudslide. The line was isolated and the fire was brought under control with an hour of the blast. There were no injuries. Residents living along Middle Grave Creek and Waymans Ridge were asked to evacuate their homes. Fire stations in Glen Dale and Cameron were opened as shelters.

Dobbs said there has been a lot of rain in recent days but something else may have contributed to the rupture.

“There’s a lot of subsidence here. A lot of mining went on in this area, longwalling,” he said.

The Oak Grove plant has been under construction for several months. That’s the same location where a 510,000 pound, 41-yard-long de-ethanizer was transported last week. The superload stalled traffic during its transport. Williams Energy will eventually refine ethane from natural gas coming out of the Marcellus and Utica shales at the plant.

The Marshall County economy has benefited from the Marcellus shale play but Dobbs admits it comes with a cost.

“It’s very stressful and then have stuff like this in your backyard going on,” he said. “I don’t know what the chemicals are that burned off. What’s in the air? Is that going to bother us? I don’t know.”

Dobbs said he was thankful there were no injuries. He said it will be a sound he never forgets.

“It was just a loud thrust—amazing,” he said.

Williams Energy said the fire caused no damage to third-party property. The company did begin to drain a 4-inch natural gas liquids pipeline in the same right of way as a precautionary measure. Company officials praised Marshall County first responders for their work at the scene.


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  • Gas plug hole

    Hey say what .. Looks like landowners are going to win again ... Looks like your pockets are going to get stretched .. To. Bad u have nothing else better to do... U. Never know who might be around the corner...


    perhaps you should give her a ride to class,and hang out for some spellin and rithmatic

  • Say What

    I bet your attorney laughs all the way to the bank(at you). Yet another hand is stretched out . This is worth repeating to the fellas at the barber shop.

  • Say What

    I bet your attorney laughs all the way to the bank(at you). Yet another hand is stretched out .

  • Say What

    Hey Roger Dobbs, I do not, not have I ever, worked in the gas well service or any service associated with same. As for putting up with the pipelines and drilling, I can see/hear the goings on from my house. The noise and sometimes smell in the air really sucks but since they are located outside city limits I've been told nothing can be done about the noise and the smell would have to be investigated by the EPA for violations( whenever they get around to showing up). Well service trucks traveling way too fast on roads and crossing bridges not designed for the weight of said trucks have been reported time and again to the county and state police. I've yet to see a set of portable scales set up anywhere in the area. And so it goes on, and on,...

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Don't forget your necessary capitalization.

  • Former employee

    Used to work at one of those plants and no longer due to safety concerns. glad i trusted my gut because since my departure i have heard multiple stories of situations that should not have occured. The company itself was a great company to work for but lack of checking into who they hire and how people are training others is a task they need to look into. Thankfully those guys are ok but sadly stuff like this is bound to occur again if people dont stop watching movies and neglecting their jobs and do what they are paid to do.

  • DWL

    The "Marshall Co. Hillbillies"!!! They didn't have a pot to pee in until they got their first natural gas right's check and now the unscrupulous vulture lawyers tell them they can sue for more money. Save the world- shoot a lawyer!

  • Kelly Pennay

  • Kelly Pennay

    This seems to be daily news coming out of Williams LLC. I would like to see them looked into further. The number of incidents at Williams owned facilities compared to facilities owned by other Gas producing companies. The time is now to make the companies in the gas extraction business be governed by rules and regulations set by someone other than themselves the public safety is number one. With the profit that this industries post every year they can surely have moved there lines and compressors away from residential areas and still remained profitable.

  • Shut up

    Looks like deep pockets will have to pay!!!! U have no clue what your talking about

  • Roger dobbs

    First of all , Once again im gratefull nobody was physically injured and praise the Emergecy responders. As for blogger named Say What.I dont hide behind a fake screen name from anyone. Ofcourse you would defend your job.! You should go to the CEO of your company and show them your blog..Then you should be fired..You act like this is a joke, You have no idea what it's like dealing with these issues on a daily basis in my area from a Residents standpoint..This goes way beyond the explosion today as I've described earlier and other issues.. Id like to know who approved this site and how.? We , atleast not I had no idea that plant was in the works until earthmoving articulated trucks started rolling into that property... At that point the site had already been approved..We, at least not I was ever asked our thoughts.. Your right., It probably wouldnt have mattered what we thought.. I've seen that first hand,"" They do whatever .. It's sad you gotta criticize others and I because we want answers and fear for ""Our family's safety"".,Even if it's just driving to town because of various gas related reasons...Safety first, right? Williams Energy is buying who they want out around plant for there use , and the Hell with the rest of us.. You should work with us not against..... Thanks Neighbor.!! Enough said..

  • rocknrollsteve

    If you consider higher prices and noses being thumbed at safety regulations compensation...

  • rocknrollsteve

    makes fun of another person's grammar. can't spell grammar.

  • Hop'sHip


  • Nobama

    Maybe the money you get from your lawsuit could pay for some grammer lessons.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    If this keeps up, it's going to be harder for the state to be "Friends of Frackers".

    Hold off on those license plates for now.

  • Jade goodnight

    I agree. The explosion was on the border of my property we meant with Williams company last month about safety issues by liveing so close to this massive facility understand this was a pipeline explosion we should be compensated for liveing out here by this iam going to run this by our attorney. A good one to get is rokisky and associates.

  • DWL

    Tubby, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is on the way!!!! Bring sticks.

  • Say What

    If you signed a lease, you were compensated. Yay! You hit a small lottery for owning/ being heir to some land . If you live in the area and none if your land was needed , too bad for you. Gee, why don't you locate the landowner where this occurred and complain to him for seeing dollar signs without any thought given to what could happen.But all of you residents could've stood together and opposed this building site, ALL OF YOU! So quit yer bitchin about what happened that you should've known could have happened. In the words of a Antero gas worker, "you can always move because in the end we will do what we want. Gas companies have deep pockets."

  • Roger dobbs

    Dear Conservative, I appreciate your input.. I am grateful that no one was physically injured. But what about the smoke and fumes from this? Does anyone know if there harmful.why was we not evacuated?? I have 3 children and another visiting...I have alot of questions I wish someone would answer. This goes beyond the incident today.... How do you run gas lines to the property where the gas plant is being built , then blast earth rock for a year there to fill a hollow to make a bigger flat area.. Yes we've had some rain but who's to say that blasting didn't destabilize the hill . Shock waves, subsidence.
    You mentioned compensated. When ? By who? "Williams"want even return calls...Gregory Price , a line installer to "Williams" did 1500. In damage to my vehicle, Never paid. I've drove through mud for 2 years to get to town on fork ridge., having to wash vehicle every day. Been Ran off rd. Stuck behind trucks for hours. Destroyed our rd causing thousands in damage to damage from blasting .. NOW, kids keep asking are we gonna be ok?. Is that gonna happen again? This is what I'm dealing with!! I live in a quiet rural area for a reason..well did!! Plants are to be built in industrial areas , not my back yard in the country. :( I think we are well overdue to be compensated.. Time to take civil action if "Williams energy" continues to ignore the residents of fork ridge in Marshall county..

  • Aaron

    Until the industry finds a way to store gas for long term production in the event of incidents like this, gas cannot be the fuel of our future. Sadly, these accidents occur far to often. This is the 3rd major explosion in the Marcella region this year.

  • Fiscal Conservative

    Line ruptures are a terrible thing. These are generally because operators cut corners to get things done quickly and cheaply. However natural gas is the energy of the future and progress has been made to make every stage of the operation. From land management to drilling to pipeline implementation. Hang in there you will be compensated for the previous mistakes made.

  • Roger dobbs

    Awakened by the explosion, it sounded like a jet engine comeing through my house. Awful smell from fumes., line exploding to the north side of Oak Grove plant. I know this,. Lines on south side had to be redone twice.!!! Because of collapsing around time installed..Your putting high pressure gas lines on top of hills that have been mined.. Mine subsidence continues throughout this area, therefore so will the pipe line ruptures. My family's life has been altered horribly by the gas boom. Keep making your billions ,Williams" while we all suffer from your messes.!!!!