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Thread: West Virginia Firefighters, Paramedic Killed in Explosion

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    West Virginia Firefighters, Paramedic Killed in Explosion

    West Virginia Firefighter, Paramedic Killed in Explosion
    The explosion occurred during a tank leak

    Updated: 01-31-2007 11:28:53 AM

    By MICHELLE JAMES and AUDREY STANTON
    Courtesy of The Register-Herald

    GHENT, W.Va.-- Four people were confirmed dead and at least five others suffered serious or critical injuries Tuesday in an accidental explosion at the Little General Store on U.S. 19 in Ghent, authorities said.

    Those killed, officials said, included a volunteer firefighter/paramedic and another firefighter who was also a Raleigh County building inspector. Both were from Ghent. The other two people killed were private gas company workers. The victims' names were not released pending notification of their families.

    The explosion was apparently triggered by a propane gas leak, officials said. A supervisor with the Raleigh County Emergency Operations Center said a 911 call came in at 10:43 a.m. reporting a propane leak at the convenience store/gas station, located across U.S. 19 from the entrance to Flat Top Lake.

    Following standard procedure, the Ghent Volunteer Fire Department dispatched a fire crew and EMS unit.

    Twelve minutes later, at 10:55, a second tone rang out -- this one for an explosion, one that, according to State Fire Marshal Sterling Lewis, covered 100 square yards.

    The blast flipped vehicles, including a large fire truck and an ambulance, damaged seven homes and shattered windows at Ghent Elementary School, Lewis said. Residents at Glade Springs also reported hearing the blast.

    Lewis, whose office is investigating with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said at a mid-afternoon news conference that crews on the scene were continuing to look for the possibility of other victims.

    "We have no way of knowing how many customers may have been in the store," he said.

    Of the injured, Kevin McGraw, marketing director at Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley, said five people were originally treated at the hospital, but, as of late Tuesday afternoon, one had been transported to Charleston Area Medical Center, General Division, and the other four were transported to Cabell-Huntington Hospital.

    All five, McGraw said, were in serious condition.

    Among those transported to Huntington was Leada Farley, her aunt, Lucy Stowers, said. Stowers said Farley said worked at Godfather's Pizza inside the Little General for several years.

    "She broke her jawbone, her pelvic bone and was badly burned," Stowers said.

    Lewis, a former Shady Spring High School teacher and coach who grew up in the area, said the scene was like no other he'd come across.

    "When I looked up and could see none of that store existing, I knew we had a major, major problem," Lewis said. " ... It blew 360 degrees."

    He said there was no evidence that pointed to anything other than an accidental explosion.

    Lewis said the initial investigation revealed neither of the two above-ground, 500-pound propane gas tanks at the store had exploded. Rather, one of them had a leak, and a crew there was working to repair it. The gas, because of the cold weather, stayed low to the ground. Fumes that smelled like rotten eggs drifted into the store until it met an unknown source of ignition.

    "We're assuming it pooled up in there," he said. " ... It can happen very quickly."

    Multiple sources told The Register-Herald the propane tanks were owned by Appalachian Heating of Bradley. When The Register-Herald attempted to contact Appalachian Heating co-owner Dan Akers for comment at his office, the person who answered the phone said Akers was not there and immediately hung up. A voice mail message was left on Akers??? residential phone. As of press time, the call had not been returned.

    Little General, a convenience store chain with locations throughout the region, said in a statement the tanks were owned by another firm. Little General said it would "continue to cooperate fully with local fire, police and emergency personnel as well as all state and federal agencies involved as their continue their investigation."

    The company also extended its "prayers and concerns to all those directly impacted by the incident at the store as well as their families and friends."

    Between 40 and 50 emergency and law enforcement personnel continued working the scene late Tuesday, and Raleigh County Sheriff Danny Moore emphasized that no unauthorized person should attempt to visit the site until the investigation is complete. If they do so, they risk not only their own safety but being arrested.

    A portion of U.S. 19 between the fire department and the West Virginia Turnpike interchange remained closed Tuesday evening as crews continued investigating, monitoring the air for propane residue and making the area as safe as possible. All leaks have been controlled, Moore said.

    Representatives from the Regional Response Team, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, West Virginia State Police, West Virginia State Fire Marshal's Office and Raleigh County Sheriff's Department were on the scene, along with firefighters and ambulance crews from throughout the region.

    Disaster Services volunteers from American Red Cross set up a disaster center at the Ghent Volunteer Fire Department, offering food, shelter and counseling to affected community members.


    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=39&id=53194

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    West Virginia Killed and Injured Firefighters and EMTs Identified
    Funeral Information Below

    Updated: 02-02-2007 10:56:32 AM

    SUSAN NICOL KYLE
    Firehouse.Com News

    GHENT, W.Va.--Members of a fire department in rural West Virginia are mourning the loss of two of its crew, and praying for the recovery of another.

    Killed in a gas explosion Tuesday morning that leveled a gas station and convenience store were career EMT Craig Dorsey II, 24, and Fred Burroughs, 52, a volunteer and former chief of Ghent Volunteer Fire Department.

    Meanwhile, Don Caldwell, 71, also a Ghent firefighter, is recovering in Charleston Hospital. "We were told this morning (Thursday) that he had a good night, and was improving," said Jo Crouser, EMS administrator at the fire company.

    Crouser remained at the fire station Tuesday morning when the units were dispatched to the Little General store about a half mile away. "It [the blast] knocked me completely down. My first thought was 'oh, my God. They were there for a gas leak, I just knew"

    The ambulance, occupied by Dorsey and EMT Christopher Cook, was destroyed by the blast that was felt miles away. Cook was released after treatment at a local hospital.

    Burroughs, a member of the fire company board of directors, had responded to the call in his personal vehicle. "He was the chief here one time. He was very involved," Crouser said.

    Like Burroughs, Caldwell also heard the call on his pager, and went to the scene. "That's what the volunteers do here. If they hear something toned out, they respond in their vehicles. Think about how many times there's a call for a gas leak."

    In addition to working as an EMT, Dorsey also was a volunteer firefighter. "He was very active. He really liked it."

    Dorsey, who has a young son, was engaged.

    Funeral arrangements are pending.

    The loss in the small community has left residents stunned. People are leaning on one another to get through. The phone at the fire station hasn't stopped ringing. 'Everyone knows everyone here.'

    The department has 30 volunteer firefighters, and 10 career EMS personnel. This is the first time that they've had to prepare to bury their own.

    Funeral Information:

    Visitation for Fred Burroughs will be held from 3-8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3 at Victory Baptist Academy in Beaver, W.Va.

    Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at the same location.

    Full fire department honors are planned for the former chief, killed Tuesday.

    Visitation for Craig Dorsey II will be held from 4-9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4 at The Family Worship Center in Beckley, W.Va.

    Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at the same location.

    Full fire department honors are planned for the volunteer firefighter and career EMT.

    Departments with questions should contact Ghent Volunteer Fire Department at 304-787-5880.


    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=39&id=53211

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    Firefighter Killed in West Virginia Blast Laid to Rest

    Updated: 02-05-2007 10:12:51 AM

    ADAM BAKER
    Courtesy of WVNS-TV

    BECKLEY -- A fallen hero killed in the line of duty was laid to rest Sunday.

    Fred Burroughs was a volunteer firefighter and building code inspector was killed in the Ghent explosion.

    He received a fireman's funeral with full honors, including a helicopter flyover and color guard.

    A fire truck carried Burroughs??? casket through Raleigh County, where people lined the streets to pay their respects.

    Some even made signs saying good-bye to the firefighter.

    The procession made its way past the Ghent Volunteer Fire Department, where Burroughs responded for his last call.

    Fire and emergency crews from across the area stood at attention there with their fire trucks??? lights flashing in the background ??? a final tribute to their friend and co-worker.

    The procession ended at Calfee Cemetery for graveside services.

    After the funeral, family, friends and people in the community were invited to gather at the Ghent Volunteer Fire Department.

    Members of the community and area churches donated food, drinks and deserts for the dinner.

    Organizers said it was an opportunity for everyone to come together after an emotional day.

    The fire department will host another dinner for the community Monday night following services for Craig Dorsey.

    Sunday also was an emotional day for family and friends as Jeffrey Lee Treadway.

    Funeral services were held today for the youngest victim of the Ghent Explosion.

    Loved ones gathered and shared memories to honor the 21-year-old.

    Treadway worked for Thompson Gas and was working on the propane tanks when the explosion occurred.

    Friends and family said he was known in the community for his unique, energetic personality, a one-of-a-kind smile and his passion for baseball.

    Treadway's final resting place is at the Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens.

    The Family Worship Center in Beckley was where friends, family and co-workers gathered today to remember Craig Dorsey.

    Dorsey was an EMT and firefighter for Ghent Area Volunteer Fire Department.

    Friends and family said he loved to help others.

    He also was a member of the Beaver and Coal City volunteer fire departments.

    Services with full EMS and firefighter honors will begin at 1 p.m. Monday at the Family Worship Center in Beckley.

    Graveside services with Masonic honors will follow at Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens in Prosperity.

    Visitation for 44-year-old Glenn R. Bennett of Beckley also was Sunday.

    People gathered at Blue Ridge Funeral Home in Beckley Sunday evening to honor Bennett.

    He worked for Thompson Gas and was on scene at Little General at the time of the explosion.

    Services at Blue Ridge Funeral Home are scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Monday.


    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=46&id=53284

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    Dorsey, II, Craig L.

    Age: 24
    Cause of Death: Other
    Rank: Firefighter-EMT
    Nature of Death: Unknown
    Classification: Volunteer
    Emergency Duty: Yes

    Incident Date: 01/30/2007
    Duty Type: On-Scene Fire
    Incident Time: 10:43
    Activity Type: Unknown
    Death Date: 01/30/2007
    Fixed Prop. Use: Store/Office

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Ghent Volunteer Fire Department
    2651 Flat Top Road
    Ghent , West Virginia 25843
    Chief: James Belcher

    Initial Summary:
    Firefighter-EMT Dorsey responded to a reported odor of gas at a commercial structure. Upon arrival on scene, approximately twelve minutes after the initial dispatch, the propane that had accumulated in the area was ignited by a yet to be determined source causing a massive explosion destroying the structure and apparatus/vehicles. The resultant blast fatally wounded (2) firefighters and (2) civilians. Four civilians and one firefighter were critically injured as well.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Pending


    http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/applications...eath_year=2007

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    Burroughs, Frederick

    Age: 51
    Cause of Death: Other
    Rank: Captain
    Nature of Death: Unknown
    Classification: Volunteer
    Emergency Duty: Yes

    Incident Date: 01/30/2007
    Duty Type: On-Scene Fire
    Incident Time: 10:43
    Activity Type: Unknown
    Death Date: 01/30/2007
    Fixed Prop. Use: Store/Office

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Ghent Volunteer Fire Department
    2651 Flat Top Road
    Ghent , West Virginia 25843

    Initial Summary:
    Captain Burroughs responded in his POV to a reported odor of gas at a commercial structure. Upon arrival on scene, approximately twelve minutes after the initial dispatch, the propane that had accumulated in the area was ignited by a yet to be determined source causing a massive explosion destroying the structure and apparatus/vehicles. The resultant blast fatally wounded (2) fire personnel and (2) civilians. Four civilians and one firefighter were critically injured as well.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    Pending

    http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/applications...eath_year=2007

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