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Explosion linked to vented natural gas

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — Federal safety investigators say enough natural gas to fill a professional basketball arena was vented into tight quarters shortly before an explosion at a Connecticut power plant that killed six workers.

Donald Holmstrom of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board released early findings Thursday in the board’s probe into the Feb. 7 explosion at the Kleen Energy Systems plant in Middletown.

He says the practice of cleaning the pipes, known as a “gas blow,” put 400,000 cubic feet of gas into an area close to the plant’s power block, and near many ignition sources.

Holmstrom says the practice of venting gas near buildings and workers is common, but inherently unsafe. The board is cautioning industry against the practice, and Holmstrom says it’s working to develop ways to find safer alternatives.


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One comment

  1. union hands should have known to only have those involved in the test on the job site……
    I have worked many of these test and always test crew only,no power equipment at all,all cords are unplugged and rolled ..welding machines are moved outside of the test site,no cell phones ,no lighters,no matches,brass tools only….but I guess I work for one of those “non union companies” that’s what makes the difference

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