FOLLANSBEE, W.Va. — Officials with Mountain State Carbon are still working to determine the cause of a fire at its Follansbee plant over the weekend that damaged equipment and parts of the building.
Follansbee Fire Chief Larry Rea, whose department responded first to the scene, told MetroNews that in over 45 years of working with the department, says the size of the Saturday blaze was rare.
“They will have fires on the belt but they are usually small and the employees will handle it themselves,” he said. “On occasion, it will be big enough to where they will call us in. But this was one of the bigger ones that I have ever seen.”
Rea said on Monday that the plant is in the middle of its own investigation into what happened that left “extensive damage” to around 80 feet of a coal handling belt.
No injuries were reported.
Conveyor Fire at Furnace Coke Plant
A fire damaged conveying equipment and sections of a building last Saturday morning at the Mountain State Carbon furnace coke plant in Follansbee, WV, local news organizations reported.
“We had a fire on one of the belts that were shut down for maintenance,” Mountain State Carbon’s owner, AK Steel, said in a statement to television news station WTOV. “There were no injuries and no interruption to operations is expected.”
The blaze ignited at about 8 a.m., according to the company. Crews from several fire departments responded to the Brooke County facility.
Follansbee Fire Chief Larry Rea told WV Metro News that about 80 ft of conveyor belt used to transport coal received “extensive damage” and the top floor of a coal handling building at the site was left with “moderate damage.” The official said that coal dust, the conveyor belt, and coal burned in the fire.
No injuries occurred during the blaze.
Mountain State Carbon’s plant in Follansbee has a total coke production capacity of more than 1 million tn/yr, information on the company’s website said. The site produces furnace coke, foundry coke, and coke breeze and fractions.