Connecticut Governor Wants Safety Review After Blast

Yesterday, we wrote about a massive power plant explosion that took place Sunday at a plant under construction in Connecticut that has, to date, injured 12 and killed five. Now, reports Forbes, the governor of Connecticut is seeking a state safety code review. The blast destroyed walls at the <"">Kleen Energy Systems power plant, the Associated Press (AP) explained prior.

Governor M. Jodi Rell just announced she will be creating two panels, said Forbes. One will determine the cause and origin of the explosion and will look at what could have contributed to the blast, for instance, “construction problems, worker safety issues, and licensing or permitting matters,” said Forbes. The other will be comprised of state agencies, local officials, and what Forbes described as other “experts” who will review the first panel’s reports to see if state or local laws or regulations and building or fire codes require change, according to Forbes. No schedule was discussed; however, Governor Rell said panel reviews need to be “impartial and swift,” quoted Forbes.

Although search and rescue efforts cooled after officials confirmed that all assigned workers had been accounted for, adding that the death toll should be confirmed at five, Mayor Sebastian Guiliano pointed out that rescue crews could not get to all areas of the plant and could not confirm the presence of other victims, said the Associated Press (AP). The blast occurred during natural gas line testing Sunday, said the AP.

According to Deputy Fire Marshal Al Santostefano, somewhere between 50 to 60 people were believed to have been in the area when the blast occurred; multiple contractors were working at the plant, which caused initial confusion regarding who, exactly, was at work on Sunday. Mayor Sebastian Giuliano called the explosion, which occurred at 11:17 Sunday morning, a gas explosion, noting that the cause was not clear, said the AP. While Santostefano believed about 50-to-60 people were on-site at the time of the blast, Mayor Giuliano pointed out that anywhere from 100 to 200 workers could be on location during a normal weekday, reported the AP.

The town is home to about 45,000 people and the blast is considered the worst in its history, said the New York Times. The plant, said the AP, is a 620-megawatt plant, and is being built for the purpose of energy production, using—for the most part—natural gas. Santostefano said Sunday’s workers were employed by O&G Industries, and were purging gas lines when the blast occurred, said the AP. Construction initiated in February 2008 when Kleen Energy Systems signed a “capacity deal” with Connecticut Light and Power for the electricity it produced, explained the AP, which also wrote that construction was expected to be completed by mid-year.

The AP reported that debris is as high as 10 feet tall in some area, with rubble everywhere, according to Santostefano. Giuliano explained that the explosion took place between two generators outside of the building, said the AP.

Middlesex Hospital spokeswoman, Melissa Brady, said 26 people were treated at the hospital. Twenty-one were released the same day; however, three were admitted and two more required transfer to other hospitals because of the severe extent of their injuries.

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