(03/12/2001)
By Bob Weaver

A major explosion and fire rocked the Lignetics plant on Route 5 at Stout's Mill in Gilmer County before 2 p.m. Sunday. Two men reportedly received severe injuries and were life-flighted to the Pittsburgh's West Penn Burn Center. One was identified as Johnny Persinger, address not given.

A third man was taken to Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital in Weston for treatment.

The plant has had several flash explosions and fires in recent years. A Gilmer County Volunteer Fireman, Assistant Chief Rob Lowther said this may have been the worst. "It blew the back wall out," he said. "The sawdust and heat creates a volatile situation." The Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Department and the Sand Fork Volunteer Fire Department fought the flames throughout the afternoon.

Lignetics makes sawdust pellets to burn in fireplaces. The sawdust concoction apparently was ignited, resulting in a flash fire. The fireman said the blaze was difficult to extinguish.

Choppers from Pittsburgh and Morgantown came directly to the site to take the injured men to Pittsburgh.


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