Area man identified in well accident

FLEMINGTON, W.Va. – 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 commenting 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, West Virginia, 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 the accident, 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.”

”There are nearly 140 employees with CES and we consider each and every one of them family,” he said. ”We are all reeling from this loss.

”Brian was an exceptional employee, a good friend to his co-workers and a well-liked member of the CES family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this tragic time; we share in their grief and sorrow,” Harper said.

The funeral service will be 1 p.m. Wednesday at Leavitt Funeral Home in Parkersburg. Burial will follow the service at Torch Cemetery. Visitation will be 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. today at the funeral home.