Gas well explosion kills local worker

A Little Hocking man was identified as the one who was killed in a natural gas well explosion in Taylor County on Friday.

Central Environmental Services CEO Jeff Harper released a statement on the death of Brian Hopkins, 43.

“On the morning of Feb. 15, 2013, our employee, Brian Hopkins, was at a customer’s well-pad near Flemington in Taylor County, W.Va, preparing to perform normal work-related tasks when an explosion occurred, killing Brian and causing some damage to the area where he was working,” Harper wrote. Company officials said Hopkins was on the work site and near two of the tanks when the explosion took place.

“He had not begun actually transferring water when the accident took place,” Harper said. “Water transfer is one of the services we offer at CES and is a routine activity that our employees do every day.

“The well site where the accident happened produces dry gas and does not contain any condensates.”

State and federal agencies, including OSHA, the Department of Environmental Protection and the state police, are investigating, company officials said. CES is based in Wood County.

“We are, of course, cooperating fully with them and in addition, conducting our own investigation in an effort to understand what caused this accident and how we can ensure the continued safety of our employees at job sites,” Harper said.

We have an excellent safety record throughout our years of operation and always put the safety and well-being of our employees first.

Harper described last Friday as the worst day in the history of our company.