Man's Leg Severed in Power Plant Implosion

One of 5 spectators injured in planned demolition

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Aug 3, 2013 5:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – Five spectators were injured today 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 6am 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.

"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," says the officer, adding the 44-year-old victim might lose his other leg as well due to his injuries. Four other spectators were treated for minor injuries. All of the injured spectators were standing beyond a perimeter set up to ensure public safety, says a county fire department engineer.

The dust clears the two remaining towers of the old Kern Power Plant after the implosion knocked them to the ground.
The dust clears the two remaining towers of the old Kern Power Plant after the implosion knocked them to the ground.   (Autumn Parry)
An explosion knocks down one of the remaining towers at the old Kern Power Plant.
An explosion knocks down one of the remaining towers at the old Kern Power Plant.   (Autumn Parry)
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