demolished when it imploded, sending debris flying and injuring at
least five people.Five spectators were injured Saturday after shrapnel was sent flying
at the demolition of a decommissioned steam power plant in
California’s Central Valley, authorities said.
More than 1,000 people had gathered at 6 a.m. in a nearby parking lot
to watch the planned implosion at the plant owned by Pacific Gas and
Electric in Bakersfield. After structures on the property came
crashing down, a police officer at the scene heard a man screaming for
help and saw his leg had been severed, police said.
“It was a piece of shrapnel that came flying out of the explosion and
came across and went through a couple of chain link fences, struck him
and impacted into a vehicle,” said Lt. Scott Tunnicliffe.
The 44-year-old victim might lose his other leg as well due to his
injuries, Tunnicliffe said.
Four other spectators were treated for minor injuries, said Kern
County Fire engineer Leland Davis. All of the injured spectators were
standing beyond a perimeter set up to ensure public safety, Davis
Residents of the city about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles were
eager to see the old plant torn down to make way for new development.
The plant was decommissioned in 1986 and has been idle ever since.
Pacific Gas and Electric reached an agreement with the city to clean
up the property and prepare it for sale. The company hired
subcontractors to handle the demolition of the plant’s boiler
structures and worked with local authorities to set up a safe
perimeter 1,000 feet from the site, said Denny Boyles, a company
“We are deeply saddened that this happened,” Boyles said. “We’re
looking for answers like everyone else.”
Boyles said the boiler structure consisted of two towers measuring 140
feet high that supported four 200,000 gallon tanks.