Explosion Rips 495 Megawatt New York Power Plant

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Explosion Rips 495 Megawatt New York Power Plant

LCG, May 17, 2001—An explosion in a coal fired unit of the 495 megawatt Lovett power plant in Rockland County, N.Y., at 11:45 a.m. yesterday injured one worker and took the entire generating facility off line, officials said.

The blast also caused Rockland County Health Department a few tense hours as the agency fretted over the possible release of asbestos. About 300 schoolchildren who live in the area were not allowed to return home after school until tests showed they wouldn't breathe the suspected carcinogen en route.

A spokesman for the plant's owner, Mirant Corp., said the cause of the explosion was under investigation. The 200 megawatt unit 5, in which the blast occurred, was not running at the time, but other units were producing about 140 megawatts. All were units were shut down as a precaution.

"We don't know yet when any of the units will be able to restart," a company spokesman said. But Lou Friscoe, Mirant's director of environmental and external affairs, said the damage was isolated to the Unit 5 boiler and other units would be able to make up for the loss.

Rob Doherty, a Mirant worker, was near the unit when it exploded. "We were standing on the roof across from it and it just shook," Mr. Doherty said. "It was terrifying. Fly ash went up the side of the mountain."

The injured worker, who suffered second-degree burns on his face and arms, was in stable condition at Westchester Medical Center.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), May 18, 2001

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