Who's in Charge at Power Plant, Rep Asks | NBC Connecticut

Who's in Charge at Power Plant, Rep Asks



    Gas line purge expected Thursday in Middletown.

    In the aftermath of  the January explosion at a Middletown power plant that killed six workers, questions have arisen about whether proper safety measures were in place. Specifically, whether someone inside the plant had ordered workers to leave the building just before the purging of a major gas line had begun. But on Tuesday, questions surfaced on who is in charge.

    On Tuesday morning, members of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board testified before the state legislature's Energy and Technology Committee and members of the state's Siting Council and the Connecticut Department of Homeland Security

    When State Rep. Matthew Lesser, D-Middletown, asked if anyone was in charge of operations on the Sunday morning when the explosion took place, there was a long moment of silence, to which Lesser responded, "If that was the case, I find it very hard to believe."

    Donald Holstrom, an investigations supervisor with the CSB, said using natural gas to  "blow out" pipelines has become an increasing cause of concern at his agency. That was the process that was in use just before the explosion erupted. 

    Holmstrom says safer alternatives will be recommended for eliminating hazardous gases to eliminate the release of these gases into the atmosphere or into work areas.

    Last Friday evening, the owner of the plant, Kleen Energy Systems, and the contractor, O & G Industries, took over access to the plant. This caused lawyers for several of the victims to seek legal action, barring the companies from changing the site or altering evidence. 

    Holmstrom said Tuesday that he's convinced none of the evidence has been, or will be, compromised.