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Marion County officials worry about CO poisonings

By Colleen S. Good

Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Since Sunday, 10 people in Marion County have been hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Seven were workers at a Marcellus Shale pump station owned by Momentum M3 Appalachia Gas Gathering, LLC, on Toothman Run Road in the Grant Town area off Paw Paw Road.

The incident took place around 3:18 p.m. Sunday.

According to Fairview Volunteer Fire Department fire chief Steve Gillespie, workplace safety negligence was the cause.

“There was a big tent with no ventilation and no fans,” Gillespie said. The tent contained two gas welders, two generators, and a couple of large and small turbo heaters.

“That raised the CO levels,” he said. “The heaters have been running a week to bring the temperature up inside the tent to above 80 degrees.”

Emergency services shut down work in the tent, which was being operated by Jarrell Contractors, which operates out of North Carolina. The seven workers in the tent were transported to Ruby, Fairmont General and Mon General hospitals for carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Fairview Volunteer Fire Department, Marion County Rescue Squad, Marion County Department of Homeland Security, Grant Town EMS, Monongalia County EMS, Marion County Sheriff’s Department and Jan Care were on scene.

“These guys are lucky to be alive,” Gillespie said. He said that according to a company representative, all workers have now been released.

According to Gillespie, the contractors had been working out of a big plant that did not have a roof. When the temperatures got cold, the plant was covered with a tent, trapping the carbon monoxide inside the tent, and creating a carbon monoxide hazard.

Gillespie said that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ordered the company to hire its own safety director on-site. The tent has been removed, and the contractors have been fired he said.

Emergency services were dispatched to a residence on Darby Street in Worthington at around 2:50 a.m. Tuesday.

“There was a malfunction in the heating system, and it was putting carbon monoxide into the house,” said Chris McIntire, director of the Marion County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and Worthington VFD chief.

Three people were taken to the hospital, with vehicles sent to Fairmont General Hospital, UPMC in Pittsburgh and Ruby Memorial Hospital.

Worthington Fire Department, Marion County Rescue Squad, Marion County Department of Homeland Security, Harrison County EMS out of Shinnston and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department were at the scene.

He said that the incidents are worrying.

“We’re just concerned,” McIntire said…

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