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Fire, Explosion at KCP&L's Hawthorn Power Plant

By MALCOLM GARCIA - The Kansas City Star Date: 05/23/00 01:09

Firefighters from Kansas City and area departments were cautiously trying to put out a fire at KCP&L's Hawthorn plant in the East Bottoms early this morning.

Area fire departments were brought in to try to put the fire out with foam. Firefighters were being careful in how they approached the fire because of concern about explosions.

The cause of the fire was not known early this morning. No injuries had been reported.

The fire caused a brief outage across the city after 11 p.m. Monday. The outage was a result of the load being shifted from the 345,000-volt transformer to other areas of the transformation system to maintain power in the area, said Tom Robinson, a Kansas City Power & Light spokesman.

Johny Teegarden, an iron worker at the plant, was leaving to get something to eat when he heard the explosion.

"We heard a big boom and saw a big flash, and then a bunch of little fires," he said. "By the time we got out of the plant that fire was burning good."

In February 1999, the complex near Front Street and Interstate 435 was rocked by a boiler explosion.

That late-night explosion woke people 20 miles away, knocked nearby workers off their feet and launched flames 200 feet into the night sky. The explosion was caused by a buildup of natural gas used to start the plant's boiler. One minor injury was reported.

That part of the plant, which is still not functioning, was one of KCP&L's main generating plants.

KCP&L decided to rebuild the plant, which accounted for 15 percent of the utility's capacity to generate electricity. The plant is scheduled to resume operation in summer 2001.

All content ) 2000 The Kansas City Star,local/37747bec.523,.html


-- (, May 23, 2000

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