Middletown Power Plant explosion: Massive amount Of gas released before blast

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MIDDLETOWN – Close to 400,000 cubic feet of gas was released into the atmosphere behind the Kleen Energy building in the final 10 minutes before the explosion that killed six and injured 27, the lead investigator of the Chemical Review Safety Board said today.

Donald Holmstrom, lead investigator of the Chemical Review Safety Board, said that the gas was released into a congested area next to the power block building, and that the congested area likely slowed the dispersion of the gas and was ignited by an undetermined ignition source. The gas released was enough to fill a basketball arena, Holmstrom said.

“A major focus of the CSB investigation is to determine what regulations, codes, and good practices might apply to these gas blows,” said Holmstrom.

He added, at a morning press conference in Middletown: “To this point, no specific codes have been identified, but we are continuing our research. In the meantime, we strongly caution national gas power plants and other industries against the venting of high pressure natural gas in or near work sites. This practice, although common, is inherently unsafe.”

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