FOXNews has just announced that there are "mass casualties" at the Kleen Energy Plant in Middletown, Connecticut. It is believed about 100 employees may have been at the plant at the time. I'll be updating all day. See updates below. See two videos below.
MSNBC is reporting an "unknown" number of people dead and injured. CNN cites police officials saying two are dead.
The "massive explosion" at 1340 River Road, was apparently due to a gas line rupturing at about 11:00 - 11:30 AM EST today. The explosion could be felt all the way to Long Island Sound. Multiple emergency vehicles are on the scene.
An hour after the explosion and what is believed to be the Kleen Energy Systems plant on River Road, emergency rescue personnel were continuing to arrive by vehicle and helicopter. Helicopters were airlifting victims to area hospitals.Witnesses across the river from the plant say the main plant building seems to be "substantially leveled."
Update 1 PM EST:
Middletown is south of the city of Hartford.
FOXNews: "Dozens of ambulances and fire trucks on the scene. The plant was under construction.
This minute on FOXNews 1:04 PM reports 2 dead and 250 injured. Another FOX report at 1:23 PM EST times about 100 injured. "Bodies were everywhere."
From Ed McKeon at the Middletown Eye:
Former Common Council member Earle Roberts called and left a message that about 11:15 an explosion nearly rocked his house off of it's foundation on nearby Bow Lane. Roberts said that the force of the explosion nearly tore the roof from his house, and sent a cloud of brown debris into the air above the plant which is under construction, and was scheduled to come on line later this year.
I felt the explosion myself at my house on Pearl Street. It sounded as if something had fallen off of my roof, and onto my porch.From CBS: "State police were sending detectives."
Kleen Energy is "majority-owned" by Energy Investors Funds.
The company is constructing the facility to feed electricity to Connecticut Light & Power under a 15-year power purchase agreement, according to a report by Fitch Ratings on Nov. 20.At least 50 construction workers were onsite.
Update 2: 40 PM EST:
Governor Rell has activated Emergency Operations Center in Hartford, staffed by Homeland Security, the Department of Public Heath, the National Guard and the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management, as well as Urban Search and Rescue teams.
The explosion came after an attempted "blow down" of natural gas pipelines, which requires a "purging" of the lines.
Update about 8 PM EST:
From NY Daily News: A worker said he was knocked off a scaffolding about 50' up. He saw a group of men below him "get flattened." He said the injuries were terrible and he saw one man beheaded.
In the first video below, you'll hear a witness living near Kleen Energy saying the explosion blew out her home's windows. Neighbors say they "doing the firing of the engines," and something went wrong. In the second video you'll see an aerial view of the damage to the plant.
In some places the debris is said to be 10' high.