The company periodically reviews its facilities, which include retail stores, gas fill plants, specialty gas labs, and distribution centers, to make sure they are operating efficiently and meeting customers' needs, she said.
Sometimes those reviews prompt the company to make changes.
"The process of sending cylinders out to alternate Airgas locations in the region for filling has been running smoothly, and showed a lesser need for the plant in Poca," Stockton-Brown said in the statement.
"Therefore, it was determined to no longer be efficient from a cost perspective to continue to operate the facility."
The 12 employees each received a severance package, Stockton-Brown said.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company earlier this month for six violations, four of which were deemed "serious," after investigating the May incident, according to archived reports. The violations carried up to $19,000 in fines.
Airgas, founded in 1982, is the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, medical and specialty gases. The company has more than 15,000 employees at 1,100 locations around the U.S.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.cr...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.