Fire Marshall Expands Danger Zone at McClintic


Fears of potential danger from aging munitions prompt the state Fire Marshal to expand a danger zone in a popular Mason County public hunting and fishing area.   

Earlier this year an old munitions bunker at the McClintic Wildlife Management area exploded and burned.   It’s still unclear what caused the incident and nobody was hurt, but the Fire Marshal took now chances, putting the bunker area of the WMA off limits.    Now a disturbing discovery has prompted them to expand that zone.

"Pond 3 and our camping area was close enough to some unstable powder they found in a couple of the igloos to warrant closing that section," said Gary Sharpe of the West Virginia DNR.

In all, the Fire Marshal has taken control of 305 acres of property in the area, but Sharpe says he doubts that will have too much of an impact on the public.

"McClintic is 3,655 (acres) so the total hunting operation here won’t be affected that much,” Sharpe said.

The changes will impact a controlled waterfowl hunt set for October 1-9 at the WMA.   Sharpe says the closure will leave 3 to 5 duck blinds typically used in that hunt out of bounds.

McClintic was formerly a storage area for the military during World War II.   When the government decommissioned the facilities, the land was given to the DNR for hunting and fishing purposes.  The agency subsequently leased the bunker space to a number of private companies for storage.   Many of them used the space to place old munitions.

"The design and location made them attractive to people wanting to store powder and propellants," said Sharpe. "Some of the occupants are in the ammunition business."

The Fire Marshal has established a satellite office on site and continues to monitor the explosive materials.  Other state agencies are expected to get involved to remove and dispose of the materials, which have become unstable in the storage bunkers. 


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