The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has ordered Chesapeake Appalachia LLC to cease operations at its Marshall County gas well drilling site where an ignition occurred on the morning of Sept. 19. A notice of violation also was issued.

No one was injured in the accident but a fire continued to burn at Chesapeake's McDowell B site, which is about nine miles from Cameron, WV, DEP said Thursday. There are six wells at the location, including one that is in the drilling stage. The DEP Office of Oil and Gas is investigating the cause of the accident and has inspectors on site.

"The rig is one of the few pieces of equipment remaining that needs to be moved in order to gain access to the wellhead," Chesapeake's Stacey Brodack, director of corporate development, said.

The Office of Oil and Gas on Tuesday issued Chesapeake Appalachia a notice of violation for failing to prevent the release of natural gas and the potential pollution of the waters of the state.

In conjunction with that notice, the office also determined that "the violation presents an imminent danger to persons and an imminent danger that a fresh water source or supply will be contaminated or lost. Therefore, a cease order was issued halting all operations associated with exploration and production at the McDowell B site..."

"The DEP's order requires that we investigate and understand the cause of the incident and not resume operations on the site until any practices or procedures that may have contributed to the incident have been modified to prevent a similar well control incident from occurring again," Brodack said. "There remains no danger to residents or the environment, including streams."

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