The high-pressure steam explosion at Salem Harbor Power Station Tuesday has claimed the lives of three workers. Phillip Robinson, 56, of 16 Robb Road in Beverly, Mark Mansfield, 41, of 24 Elm St. in Peabody and Matthew Indeglia, 20, of 12 Pere Marquette, Lawrence, died late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.
The high-pressure steam explosion at Salem Harbor Power Station Tuesday has claimed the lives of three workers.
Phillip Robinson, 56, of 16 Robb Road in Beverly, Mark Mansfield, 41, of 24 Elm St. in Peabody and Matthew Indeglia, 20, of 12 Pere Marquette, Lawrence, died late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Two of the men were operators and one was a mechanic. They were working on the ground floor of the power plant on Fort Avenue at about 8:50 a.m. near the Unit 3 boiler, “when a tube ruptured, blowing steam onto them 20 feet below,” according to a statement issued Wednesday by Dominion, the Virginia-based parent company of Salem Harbor Power Station.
“All of Dominion is greatly saddened by the deaths of these men,” said Dominion CEO and president Thomas F. Farrell II, in a written statement released Wednesday. “They were valuable members of our Salem Harbor family. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families.”
Salem fire officials said the three workers suffered severe burns to exposed skin on their faces, necks, hands and heads.
The men had been transferred to Brigham & Women’s on Tuesday after first being brought to Beverly and Salem hospitals. Rescue workers had wanted to fly the victims by helicopter to Boston, both immediately after the accident and later from the North Shore hospitals, but the stormy weather prevented flying.
The boiler tubes contain high-pressure steam and water that power the turbine generator, which spins to create electricity. Officials had said Tuesday the steam was about 320 degrees, and carried about 2,000 PSI of pressure.
Power station officials have not determined the cause or exact location of the boiler tube break, and said there was no indication of a problem with boiler Unit 3 until the accident.
State agencies were at the station on Tuesday to investigate the incident. The plant was closed Wednesday to allow for a full safety review and to deal with the needs of employees, Dominion reported. Gary Courts, managing director of Dominion New England, said on Tuesday that city officials from Salem and Lynn had responded along with officials from OSHA and the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Salem’s public safety officials and Dominion officials both said Salem Harbor Power Station has never had an incident like this, and police and firefighters cited the company’s good safety record.
Workers shut down boiler Units 1 and 2 late on Tuesday, after the accident with Unit 3 occurred. Unit 4 had not been operating that day, according to officials.
All non-essential employees at the power plant, which employs about 150 people, were sent home Tuesday. The coal-burning station generates electricity for about 745,000 homes. Officials said Tuesday there had been no interruptions related to the day’s tragedy, but it is unknown whether the ongoing closure will affect service.