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PG&E Power Plant Implosion Goes Wrong

A scheduled demolition of a PG&E power plant in Bakersfield goes seriously wrong
BAKERSFIELD -- A spectator reportedly lost a leg Saturday morning when shrapnel from the implosion of the old PG&E plant flew across Coffee Road and struck him where he watched the explosion from the Lowe’s parking lot, police said. Several other people received less severe injuries. 

The man’s name was not immediately released, but he was a 44-year-old Bakersfield resident, according to Bakersfield Police Lt. Scott Tunnicliffe. The man, “sustained an apparent complete amputation of one leg, and the possible amputation of the second,” Tunnicliffe told Channel 17’s Paul Harris. 

At least three other people were treated for minor injures at the scene, and Tunnicliffe said police were checking hospitals to see if other victims were transported by private cars. Several automobiles in the parking lot were damaged. 

Those injured Saturday was part of a crowd standing near Coffee Road in the Lowe’s parking due east of the power plant. They were several hundred yards away from where the explosions happened.

Video of the explosions shows large pieces of the structure flying to the east, toward the Lowe’s lot. 

PG&E repeatedly stressed it had made no accommodations for the public to view the explosions that brought down the four-story-high derelict power plant. Still, more than a thousand people lined Rosedale Highway just west of Coffee Road, and dozens more crowded into the parking lot of the Lowe’s store. 

Police closed Coffee Road to traffic before the 6 a.m. explosion. 

A worker was killed June 18, 2012 while dismantling the same plant. 

PG&E has released this statement:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were injured during the demolition. Safety of the public and employees is our first priority at all times and we are deeply saddened that at least one individual suffered serious injuries. We will work closely with all investigating agencies and the third-party contractors who managed and carried out the demolition as they work to identify the cause of this accident.”


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