An explosion at the Kleen Energy Systems plant in Middletown, Connecticut occurred on Sunday afternoon, injuring a dozen or more workers and killing 5. The 620-megawatt plant, which was almost complete, is being built to produce energy primarily using natural gas. At the time of the explosion, workers were working on purging the gas line.
Search and rescue teams are on site working to locate other possible victims. With this project there have been multiple contractors involved in the work process which left confusion in knowing how many employees were on site during the explosion.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying a seven-person team to the site to investigate the incident. “The CSB’s investigative team will examine the activities that were ongoing at the time of this accident, including any gas purging, as indicated by initial media reports,” said CSB lead investigator Don Holmstrom. At a public meeting only 3 days before the explosion, CSB issued urgent recommendations that the national fuel gas codes be changed to improve safety when gas pipes are being purged – cleared of air – during maintenance or the installation of new piping.