Astoria generator blast being investigated – QNS.com

Astoria generator blast being investigated

By Rebecca Henely

USPowergen has begun to clean up and review the extent of the damage caused by an explosion in one of the boilers at Astoria’s Con Edison complex last week, the senior vice president of the company said in an e-mail.

The explosion, which produced smoke visible across the East River July 27, rattled the 11-story plant and cracked its windows, but caused no major injuries, USPowergen said. John Reese, senior vice president of USPowergen, said the incident is still under investigation.

The blast happened at about 7:28 p.m. in a unit operating in the Astoria Generating Station, which is owned by USPowergen, a statement from the company said. USPowergen, Con Edison and NRG Energy Inc. all have facilities at the complex at 20th Avenue and Shore Boulevard in Astoria. A tube rupture in one of the reheat boilers caused the explosion, according to USPowergen.

The explosion broke some windows and shook the building, USPowergen said. One employee was also taken for medical evaluation as a result of the blast, the company said.

The call came in to FDNY at about 8 p.m., said Iann Izzotto, an FDNY spokesman. FDNY sent 25 units and 110 firefighters to the scene and brought the situation under control at about 10 p.m., Izzotto said. The fire company maintained a presence on the scene well into last Thursday morning, Izzotto said.

Electrical service was not interrupted as a result of the blast, Izzotto said.

US Powergen said the unit where the explosion occurred underwent asbestos abatement in 1990, but the company began testing the air for airborne asbestos as a precaution, and assessing the damage to the unit the same night.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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