5 Killed in Energy Plant Blaze

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Oct 3, 2007 1:41 AM CDT
Rescue workers put on air tanks as they head into an Xcel Energy hydroelectric plant in which five maintenance workers died.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Five workers trapped in an empty water tunnel at a Colorado hydroelectric plant were killed late yesterday when a chemical fire ignited in equipment. The workers had communicated after the blaze erupted that they were safe, but firefighters later found their bodies as they battled the blaze. The men worked for a contractor doing routine maintenance for the Xcel plant in Georgetown.

They were among nine employees trapped when a machine used to coat the inside of the water tunnel with epoxy caught fire. The others managed to scramble to safety through an opening in the four-foot-wide pipe.