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All individuals accounted for following Middletown explosion

As of 6 p.m. tonight, Monday, February 8, 2010, all of the people who were on the job site at the Kleen Energy Plant during the explosion yesterday have been accounted for.

Five deaths at the scene have been confirmed. A sixth death, which may have occurred at a hospital, remains unconfirmed, according to local fire officials on Monday.

The site, where the Kleen Energy Plant was being constructed, was largely destroyed in the blast. Steel siding was ripped off the plant’s primary building, concrete footings have been rendered unsafe, a portion of the second floor remains inaccessible, and debris litters the entire worksite.

The majority of the main structure appears to require a complete rebuild, according to Middletown South Fire District Commissioner David Gallitto. “The structural integrity of the plant is shot. There is a possibility that a few outbuildings may be salvageable,” but the site is, reportedly, largely a loss.

As result of the blast’s concussion, numerous homes in the immediate area also sustained serious damage: from broken windows and warped garage doors, to cracked ceilings and drywall.

The plant, which was 96% complete prior to the accident, was due to begin operations this summer. It was undergoing testing in advance of its anticipated opening. Yesterday’s test, to purge the natural gas lines of air, was the second such test in the past three weeks.

It is understood that the pipeline blast occurred at the point where gas was dispersed to two turbines designed to generate power. The blast reportedly burned at 2200 degrees, incinerating what lay in its path.

South Fire District personnel will continue to maintain a presence on the scene throughout this evening and all day tomorrow, according to Gallitto. Continued investigation is likely to be hampered by the large snowstorm being forecast for our area on Wednesday.


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