UnNews:In power plant explosion, accurate figures elude reporters

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8 February 2010

Explosion

The explosion at the Middletown power plant, or somewhere else.

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- About five people remain unaccounted for after a deadly explosion at a power plant, a fire official said Monday.

Sunday morning's blast in Middletown, about 20 miles south of Hartford, killed at least five people and injured a dozen or more others.

Deputy Fire Marshal Al Santostefano said officials have located approximately 95 percent of the more-or-less 100 workers who were at the plant. It was unclear whether the other workers are missing or merely missed, given that no one on the Fire Department knows how many of them they are looking for.

Rescue crews combed through the debris until about 2:30 a.m. Monday at the site, which is near Wesleyan University on a 137-acre parcel, give or take a few acres. They were to return to the scene Monday to practice counting things and giving precise answers. Piles of rubble were approximately 10 feet tall. Pretty near.

On Monday, Governor M. Jodi Rell told WTNH-TV, "We're still confirming the number of people." She added, "Given that none of our public servants can report exact numbers, you can see why we're blameless for the state's budget deficit."

Lynn Hawley, of Hartland, Connecticut, said her son, Brian Hawley, is a pipefitter at the plant and broke his leg. Brian is about 36 years old. "He's a great kid," the elder Hawley said. "Well, usually," she added.

Kleen Energy Systems LLC began construction on the plant in February 2008, give or take six weeks. It had signed a deal with Connecticut Light and Power for approximately 620 megawatts of electricity, starting sometime in the middle of 2010, or some year with a zero in it. Terms of the deal were not immediately clear. The plant would be one of the biggest built in New England in the last few years. Maybe longer.

Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Eric Tucker in Middletown; Stephanie Reitz in Glastonbury, Conn.; Mark Williams in Columbus, Ohio; Mike Baker in Raleigh, N.C.; and Anne D'Innocenzio in New York. Six reporters, no body counts. Great Caesar's ghost! were they all up late watching the Super Bowl last night?

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