Kleen Energy power station fire in Middletown under control

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MIDDLETOWN >> Firefighters from the South Fire District and the Middletown Fire Department are still at the scene of a fire that started inside one of the turbines at the Kleen Energy Power Plant on the River Road Wednesday morning.

At 9.45 a.m., authorities said the blaze was largely under control. Previously, you could see smoke rising from the factory, as well as steam. No injuries were reported.

The fire call arrived around 7 a.m., Southern District Chief Robert Ross said at a press conference. He said about fifty firefighters were on the scene.

“The fire has been contained,” Ross said. “(The insulation around the turbine) should be moved out of the area and turned off. It’s a confined space, so our staff must have air packs. Rescue teams are standing. We will be here for the rest of the day.

The 620 megawatt combined cycle power plant located at 1439 River Road uses low-emission combustion turbine technology to generate electricity for the New England power grid. Kleen Energy was the site of an explosion in February 2010 that killed six workers and injured 26. The four years anniversary of the explosion was Friday.

Ross said there was “no similarity” between this fire and this “tragic incident”.

“It’s a relatively small fire,” Ross said. “The factory is not closed, the other turbine is working, it produces electricity. This is a very minor, minor incident.

Officials said they believed the blaze started after a malfunction of the No.1 turbine, which caused the cooling oil to leak. The heat ignited this fuel. The turbine, one of two at the plant, is located in a sealed room in the plant and the insulation around the turbine “smolders,” Ross said.

Firefighters are completing the tedious process of removing insulation and making sure the fire is completely out, officials said.

The plant is operational in areas other than the turbine where the fire occurred. There are two turbines at the factory.


Ross said the foam was being used because of an oil spill. Firefighters move in and out of the area where the fire is burning to keep them at rest.

Workers stayed inside the factory, which still generates electricity, Ross said. Factory workers are working with firefighters to strategically fight the blaze, he said.

There was also no evacuation of nearby residents. Ross said there is a system to notify people in the factory area if an emergency evacuation is needed. He said this fire had not reached that level.

“(The fire) is in a very isolated section, everything has been confined to a specific location,” Middletown Mayor Dan Drew said. “The rest of the plant is fully operational. After seeing the facility after the fire department extinguished the blaze, you wouldn’t be able to tell that anything happened. “

The cold temperatures made the fire more difficult to fight at first, Ross said, but with the cooperation of the plant staff, “we have identified a space that is a safe area for us to run our crews.” . He said the firefighters were coming out of the turbine room covered in foam and water, which is “of great concern to us, so the rehabilitation and proper rest and warmth have worked very well.”

Drew told the press conference that this incident is “extraordinarily different from what happened four years ago.”

Drew said firefighters were working “collaboratively” at the scene after a “very quick” and “very professional” response.

Firefighters from Westfield, Cromwell, Middlefield and Durham were also called to the scene, along with Middlesex EMS.

The New Haven Fire Department responded with a regional foam trailer the service operates and a squad to help fight the blaze.

The Middletown Emergency Management Department, Building Office, Health Department and Mayor’s Office were also on the scene. Support is also provided by the Office of the State Fire Marshal, the State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit, and the State Department of Energy and Protection. the environment.

The 2010 explosion was the result of igniting 400,000 cubic feet of gas and air that had accumulated during a “gas hit”. Natural gas is forced through the pipes at high pressure to remove debris during a “gas hit”. The factory was then under construction.

Photos: Kleen Energy power plant explosion in Middletown

The explosion was followed by civil lawsuits against the plant operators as well as one of the plant’s subcontractors, Torrington-based O&G Industries, against the victims and their families.

State lawmakers have banned the use of flammable gases to clean power plant pipes. The factory reopened 17 months after the explosion.


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