It is common for new manufacturing facilities to have "bugs" that have to be worked out. When problems involve the safety of workers and nearby communities, however, a sense of emergency needs to be part of the process.
Early Saturday, fire broke out at the Blue Racer Midstream Plant in southern Marshall County. W.Va. 2 was closed for several hours and about 25 residents of the Kent community were evacuated for about an hour and a half.
As we reported, the fire burned itself out. Company officials are investigating the cause.
A joint venture of Dominion Resources and Caiman Energy, the plant processes natural gas. It went into operation this summer.
Thank heaven no one was injured in the fire. And thank heaven procedures designed to handle such emergencies appear to have worked very well.
Both state and federal industrial safety officials should be part of the investigation. If some design flaw at the plant was responsible, all equipment at the facility should be re-checked to ensure catastrophic breakdowns do not occur. If human error was to blame, better training may be required.
Whatever the cause, identifying and correcting it simply must be a priority. Workers and area residents have a right to expect such plants will be safe.