Damage being assessed, cause up in the air in Brooke County plant fire

FOLLANSBEE, W.Va. — Officials with Mountain State Carbon are still working to determine the cause of a fire at its Follansbee plant over the weekend that damaged equipment and parts of the building.

Follansbee Fire Chief Larry Rea, whose department responded first to the scene, told MetroNews that in over 45 years of working with the department, says the size of the Saturday blaze was rare.

Mountain State Carbon

“They will have fires on the belt but they are usually small and the employees will handle it themselves,” he said. “On occasion, it will be big enough to where they will call us in. But this was one of the bigger ones that I have ever seen.”

Rea said on Monday that the plant is in the middle of its own investigation into what happened that left “extensive damage” to around 80 feet of a coal handling belt.

“Moderate damage” occurred to the top floor of a coal handling building, according to Rea. The belt carriers coal around 120 feet in the air to a processing building to get it ready to go in the batteries to produce coke.

No one was injured in the blaze and Rea said there is currently no danger to the public.

“All that was burning is coal, the coal dust and the actual belt that carries it.”

Heavy smoke was showing from the large plant when fire crews arrived on the scene at about 9 a.m.

Brooke County 911 dispatchers called the fire an active emergency situation.

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