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Company Explains Cause of Deadly Doddridge County Explosion

In a letter Wednesday to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Antero Resources provided their explanation for a deadly natural gas well explosion that occurred last month in Doddridge County, West Virginia.

In its report to state regulators, Antero stated that open hatches on a series of wastewater tanks allowed a buildup of gases that fueled two explosions. According to the company, a flash fire erupted near a contractor's pump, sending a flame trail toward a collection of flow-back tanks, which then exploded.

According to Antero's report, witnesses described an initial flame close from one tank, followed by an explosion 10 to 15 minutes later by the explosion of a second tank. The report suggested that both tanks were damaged and were probable sources of the combustible vapors.

The explosion caused the death of two people - Jason Mearns, 37, of Beverly, West Virginia, and Tommy Paxton, 45, of Walton. Mearns was employed by Antero contractor Nabors Completion & Production Services, and Paxton by Antero contract C&R Downhole Drilling, according to news outlets.

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