Propane fire still burning three days later

A fire that began shortly before 8 a.m. Friday at Sisolack’s Truck Repair on Talbott Road in Barbour County was still burning Monday afternoon, officials said.

An early morning blaze destroyed the business Friday. Fire crews have remained on the scene for more than three days, working with water hoses to keep a propane truck in the building cool. The propane escaping from the truck was burning, but firefighters did not want to extinguish the blaze for safety reasons. Once all the propane leaked out the fire would extinguish itself, officials said.

Belington Fire Chief Phil Hart said Monday afternoon the blaze was now classified as a controlled hazard the firefighters were controlling by keeping the propane tank cool.

“We are not allowing the heat to build up on the tank,” Hart said. “The heat impingement on the tank is what will weaken the steel and could cause a rapid release.”

Belington Fire Department and Belington Emergency Medical Service had been at the scene since Friday, and would remain there until the fire is extinguished and no longer a hazard, Hart said.

“The Southern States representative can’t give us any idea (of when the fire will be out),” Hart said. “This thing could go out in five minutes, or it could burn for who knows how long. We are keeping the continuous flow of water on the tank, which will keep it cool and allow that flame vapor being produced to be released at a controllable rate – that way the tank won’t be damaged.”

Hart said for safety purposes he would like for the public to avoid the scene if at all possible. He said the water firefighters are using at the site is being recycled, so they are being environmentally safe as well.

The Belington EMS, the West Virginia State Police and firefighters from Belington, Huttonsville Mill Creek, Ellamore, Elkins, Junior, Beverly, Coalton and Fellowsville responded to the scene Friday. Firefighters from Leading Creek covered the Belington Fire Department during the event.

A nearby neighbor, who wished to remain unnamed, said she was coming out of her drive Friday morning and was startled by the blaze. She said there were several explosions at the site, but no one was hurt.