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HomeNewsArchivesExplosion at St. Thomas Power Plant Injures Interns, Causes Widespread Outage

Explosion at St. Thomas Power Plant Injures Interns, Causes Widespread Outage

July 17, 2007 — An explosion at the Randolph Harley plant on St. Thomas caused non-life-threatening injuries and a district-wide power outage, which V.I. Water and Power Authority representatives said may last until early Wednesday morning.
The explosion occurred at the unit No. 13 transformer, said WAPA spokeswoman Cassandra Dunn. "There was a fire, but it was put out by plant personnel,” she added. “Fire Services did show up at the scene, though, to make sure everything was under control."
The incident, which occurred around 4 p.m. Tuesday, caused some injuries, leaving about four of WAPA's summer interns with second-degree burns on their hands.
"The students were exiting the building at the time that the transformer blew," Dunn said. "Their parents have been notified about the incident, and they have been taken to the hospital for treatment."
The students, who range in age from about 18 to 23, are part of WAPA's Warehouse Summer Inventory Program, and are responsible for helping to catalogue the authority's supplies and other equipment.
At a press conference held around 5 p.m. at the Harley plant, Gov. John deJongh Jr. expressed relief that the students did not sustain more serious injuries, and said teams from several of the territory's emergency-response agencies had shown up at the facility after the explosion was reported.
As of 6 p.m., WAPA representatives said they do not know what caused the explosion. "We will be working to bring the units online as quickly as possible," said WAPA Chief Operating Officer Glenn Rothgeb at the press conference. However, Rothgeb noted that the outage — which extends to St. John — may last until the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The Source will provide additional details about the incident once more information becomes available.
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