Early reports were that a natural gas leak could have caused a devastating explosion Sunday morning that killed two and injured as many as 100 at a power plant being built south of the city on the Connecticut River.
Homeowners more than 10 miles away said the 11 a.m. explosion at the Kleen Energy Systems power plant on River Road created a shock wave so intense they mistakenly thought the central part of the state had experienced an earth quake.
Medical rescue personnel said two were dead at the site and, of 100 so injured, four were in critical condition.
“There are bodies everywhere,” a witness said. Another witness said many victims may be buried in rubble.
Middletown deputy fire marshal Al Santostefano said at 1:15 p.m. there were “confirmed fatalities” but that he did not know who many. He said there were at least 50 construction workers on the site.
“It was a massive explosion” he said.
Natural gas facilities are dangerously susceptible to tragic events such as this. Our condolences go out to the families of those killed or injured.
It is a very sad and strange thing that most of the public thinks that nuclear power plants operate on the edge of catastrophe–“bombs waiting to go off” I’ve read–when in fact such an event is physically impossible. On the other hand, the public also believes that natural gas is “clean, safe, and green” when in fact it is capable of serious catastrophe, and all too often these terrors are realized. Look at the name of the company building the plant: “Kleen Energy”. That’s no accident.
Many of us in the blogger community have been following the incredibly overblown coverage given to a few picocuries of tritium leaked from the Vermont Yankee power plant, and breathless politicians aided and abetted by anti-nuclear forces calling for the shutdown of this reliable source of clean power, yet in this case, those same anti-nuclear forces who say we should rely on natural gas instead of nuclear will probably remain silent about this tragedy, which unlike a few picocuries of tritium (about as risky as a brazil nut) actually have killed and maimed scores of people.
Will all the natural gas power plants be shut down in this country while we investigate this tragedy and get to the bottom of its cause? Will the public rise up and protest the dangerous, deadly natural gas at the root of this issue? Will major environmental groups oppose expansion of natural gas and demand retrofits to existing gas plants to prevent this in the future?
Of course they won’t. This will be ignored by and large and treated as any old industrial accident. What hypocrisy.
UPDATE-2: At least five dead, more injured…