3 workers dead after water pipe explosion at Salem power plant
BOSTON -- Three workers at Salem Harbor Power Station were killed after a water tube on a boiler exploded, burning them with high pressure steam, authorities said Wednesday.
Dominion, the Richmond, Va.-based energy company that owns the power station, said the men were repairing a fan on the ground floor near the boiler on Tuesday when the tube ruptured about 20 feet above and blew steam on them. The men were burned on their heads, hands, faces and necks.
Matthew Indeglia, 20, who has addresses in Lawrence and Townsend; Mark Mansfield, 41, of Peabody; and Phillip Robinson, 56, of Beverly, died after being taken to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, according to Salem police Detective John Doyle.
A hospital spokeswomen said the men died between Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.
The company said two were operators and one was a mechanic.
"All of Dominion is greatly saddened at the deaths of these men," said Thomas F. Farrell II, Dominion chairman, president and chief executive officer. "They were valuable members of our Salem Harbor family. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families."
Mansfield's brother, Matthew Mansfield of Effingham, N.H., said he was stunned and in denial about his only brother's death. Mansfield, 38, said his brother loved working at the plant and was killed after deciding to work on a scheduled day off. He said he has no plans to pursue legal action against the plant.
Mansfield said he last saw his brother six weeks ago when Mark visited the hospital after the birth of Matthew's infant daughter.
"It's a horribly devastating accident," Mansfield said. "It is not pleasant. It's one of those situations where you always say it happens to other people. But this time it was our turn."
Mansfield said his brother was a charismatic man with a great sense of humor who loved socializing, as well as NASCAR racing and the New England Patriots. He also described him as a devoted father to three daughters between the ages of 13 to 18.
"I will miss him dearly," he said.
The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration has inspected the plant once in the last five years, in March 2006, and no citations were issued, OSHA spokeswoman Ted Fitzgerald said. The agency is investigating Tuesday's accident, Fitzgerald said.
The power station was shut down Wednesday for an undetermined period so the company could assist employees and conduct a full safety review, the company said. While the station is down, other suppliers will compensate for the loss of the power the station supplies to a common pool of energy, said Dominion spokesman David Botkins.
The boiler tubes contain high-pressure, high-temperature water and steam that turn the turbine-generator, which spins to produce electricity. The company said there were no indications of any problems before the rupture. Botkins said the massive 35-foot tall boiler, which has miles of metal tubing, passed its annual inspection in April.
The coal-fired plant was purchased by Dominion in 2005. It employs 145 people and produces enough electricity for 740,000 homes.
Dominion bought the plant after the previous owner, PG&E National Energy Group Inc., went bankrupt. Under PG&E, the plant was known as one of Massachusetts' "filthy five" dirtiest power plants.
Dominion now uses low sulfur coal and has re-tuned its burners, said Seth Kaplan, vice president for climate advocacy for The Conservation Law Foundation. But the company hasn't invested as heavily in pollution controls as it has in the Brayton Point Station in Somerset, which it bought at the same time, Kaplan said.
(Copyright (c) 2007 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)