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HOME: US: WIRE STORY Employee at power plant dies following explosion 12.00 a.m. ET (410 GMT) April 5, 2000

SPENCER, N.C. (AP)  A worker at a Duke Energy Corp. plant died Tuesday, hours after being severely burned when an electric transformer exploded, authorities said.

The explosion happened shortly after 11 a.m. at Buck Steam Station, one of Duke Power's eight steam plants.

Emergency workers said the employee suffered chemical burns on the hands and face. Utility spokeswoman Guynn Savage said the employee died later at a Winston-Salem hospital. The name was not released.

The explosion occurred as the employee performed routine maintenance on a transformer near the plant's main building, Duke officials said.

There was no interruption of electric power and no damage to the plant itself, Savage said. She said the cause of the explosion was not immediately evident.

-- Martin Thompson (, April 05, 2000


[Fair use for education and research purpose only]

From: Charlotte Observer - April 5, 2000

Title: Explosion kills Duke Power worker

Man was working on transformer at plant

By NANCY RILEY Staff Writer

SPENCER -- A Duke Power Co. employee died Tuesday, several hours after an explosion at Buck Steam Station on the Yadkin River near Spencer.

At the request of the family, Duke declined to release information on the employee, but spokesperson Becky McSwain said he was airlifted to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem with serious injuries. The man, whose name was not released, later died.

McSwain said the worker and another technician were doing routine maintenance on a large transformer in a substation a few feet from the plant about 11:20a.m., when something happened to one of the transformers. There was an explosion, which caused a fire.

An on-site emergency team and local emergency and fire departments responded and extinguished the fire in about 28 minutes, spokesperson Guynn Savage said. The other technician was not injured, she said.

There was no interruption of electric power and no damage to the plant itself, Savage said. The generator attached to the failed transformer was taken off line, leaving three of the plant's six generators in operation. Two others already were off line.

Savage said the cause of the explosion was not immediately evident. She said Duke has begun an investigation, and the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration had been alerted.

Duke Power does not expect any more problems with the other transformers or the supply of electricity from the plant, Savage said.

"It's probably highly unlikely" that a similar accident would occur at another substation, spokesperson Tom Shiel said. "Until an investigation can be done to determine the cause of the problem, we don't know. We wouldn't operate equipment if it weren't safe. All of our equipment has routine examinations to make sure it is safe."

Buck Steam Station is one of Duke Power's smaller plants, with a maximum capacity of 364,000 kilowatts, McSwain said. Named after James Buchanan "Buck" Duke, it was one of the company's first coal- burning plants, beginning operation in 1926. Today, it is one of Duke Power's eight steam plants, seven of which are in North Carolina.

The power plant helps Duke Power supply about 200million customers in the Carolinas. Seventy-two employees work at the station in shifts, Savage said.

Staff writer Courtney Hardee contributed to this article.

-- (, April 05, 2000.

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