Explosion At Hermitage Motel Injures One Employee

Bartow, WV – Yellow caution tape surrounds the parking lot of the Hermitage Motel in Bartow after a suspected propane tank explosion tore through a section of motel Tuesday night, injuring one employee. The BFD Fire and Rescue squad and fire trucks from the Durbin Fire Department responded to the scene.

The explosion, near the living area of the motel, threw debris across the river, according to one witness. The injured employee has been identified as motel manager Darryl Wagner, according to the Associated Press. He suffered burns in the explosion and was air-lifted out Tuesday night and taken to the University of Virginia hospital.

The Hermitage is owned by Old Dominion Hotels, who also own the Highland Inn and Montvalle Motel in Monterey, Va. According to Old Dominion Hotels’ desk clerk Debbie Morse, Wagner smelled gas and went to the basement to investigate. When he turned on a light switch, there was an explosion. Wagners’ wife, who was upstairs, was not injured.

A popular destination in years past for fall color enthusiasts, the Hermitage officially closed its doors on January 3rd, 2011, and was destined for a future sale, according to the motels website. Old Dominion Hotels says the economic downturn has lasted too long for the property to continue to operate profitably.

Major David Walton of the Pocahontas County Sheriffs Dept is in charge of the investigation. As of early Wednesday morning, a Pocahontas County Sheriffs’ department auxiliary member was at the scene waiting for the state fire marshal to arrive.

Thanks to the Charleston Gazette for some of the information in this report.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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