A violent explosion at the new Kleen Energy power plant in Connecticut killed five people, and caused 14 to be taken into hospital for treatments ranging from broken bones, to abdominal injuries. The plant was still under construction and not due to open until the summer, and so at the time of explosion, the plant was undergoing gas tests. Sources say that a gas pipeline running near the plant had exploded. The shockwaves travelled as far as 30 miles away, and shook residents' homes. The five people who died have been identified as Peter Chetulis of Thomaston, Ronald J. Crabb of Colchester, Raymond Dobratz of Old Saybrook, Roy Rushton of Ontario, Canada, and Chris Walters of Missouri. The amount of people on-site was estimated to be around 50, but up to 200 people were employed to work on the construction. Reports state that there are still people trapped under the remains of the building.
A rescue operation was initiated, with at least 100 firefighters on scene. It took over an hour to control the fire caused by the explosion. Search rescue teams and specialist dog teams were on-site, hunting through the remains for survivors. The main contractor was using natural gas to purge the system's pipes of any air - a procedure that has been blamed for seven major explosions, that all resulted in numerous injuries and deaths. During the investigation into the cause of the explosion workers reported being concerned about smelling gas an hour prior to the explosion. There were also allegations of a welder's torch being lit during the purging.
Photo courtesy of Sean Vatcher