Explosion In Middletown

kleen energy plant.gifAround 11:30 this morning my house shuddered. We’ve been hit by flying branches in storms. This was different. There was no sound, just a compression shock. I got out of bed and headed downstairs.

Helaine was on the sofa. She perceived it differently from me. She said we should check the house. I opened the door and saw nothing. We went to the basement and garage. Nothing again.

The house shook from an explosion at the Kleen Energy plant in Middletown. That’s around 20 miles from here. Their website says it’s “in construction”:

620 MW – Siemens-Combined Cycle, ISO & FERC 345kV Interconnect Approved –Pipeline Delivered – Dual Fuel – Gas & Oil Fired – Water Cooled

Helaine said the shake reminded her of an explosion while we were in Buffalo.

An untrained worker was moving a propane tank with a forklift. The tank fell and the valve sheared off. The propane, being heavier than air, spread out along the ground.

From Wikipedia:

The North Division Street explosion was a powerful explosion on December 27, 1983 in a warehouse at the intersection of North Division and Grosvenor Streets in Buffalo, New York. The building contained an illegal 500-gallon propane tank whose valve was broken off while it was being moved and the building was evacuated. The propane started to leak and eventually reached an open flame. The tank exploded, killing all five firefighters assigned to Ladder 5 and two civilians; and damaging a dozen city blocks and causing millions of dollars of damage in fire equipment.

When it happened Helaine thought a car had run into our house! Within thirty seconds of her calling me at the TV station every phone in the place was ringing.

Right now I’m listening to emergency responders on an Internet delivered scanner channel. There’s lots of activity which seems well coordinated. There’s talk of victims and casuaties. It’s horrific.

I wanted to make sure Ann Nyberg knew about this. By the time I called her she was already at the station helping with our coverage. Stories unfold much more quickly now than in ’83. I’ve posted on Twitter and Facebook and the replies have been coming at a steady pace.

This is a tragedy.

2 Responses to “Explosion In Middletown”

  1. Jack Chapman says:

    It is strange that you felt it in Hamden and we didn’t feel it here in Cromwell! Thanks for the Internet scanner link. We’ve been listening on the old fashion scanner and it’s quite busy.

  2. Sean says:

    I live in Cobalt right on the other side of the river. It was like a canon went off. I am still surprised a window did not smash, the front of my house faces the plant. My wife was at our farm in the south end of Middletown about 2 miles way from the plant to the west and the shockwave hit the barn hard. She could see smoke billowing.

    There are LOTS of power lines and gas lines running on the east side of the river- sometimes when they are running new lines, they actually use explosives to fuse together connections on the lines, so we get a random blast here and there. This was far more powerful. My first guess was a REALLY bad accident on RT 9, a sonic boom, or an aircraft crash.

    First thing I did was send a text to my neighbor, who is MFD- didn’t get a response immediately…

    I tuned into the MFD scanner channels and it was frantic at first, sounded like they thought it was a test/drill at first until they got on-scene. MFD Operations did mention casualties and extrications while they were just trying to get water onto the fire. Some of it was invocative of listening 10 9/11 scanner archives.

    It’s going to be brutal out there tonight, the winds are tearing through the river valley.

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