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Three people injured by explosion at US power plant

21 May 2024

A fire and explosion at a power plant in Martin County, Florida injured three people on 16 May. The incident happened at the Martin Next Generation Clean Energy Center which is operated by utility company Florida Power & Light (FPL). Two employees from the company as well as a firefighter were injured.

Image: Martin County Fire Rescue
Image: Martin County Fire Rescue

A fire broke out at the integrated solar combined cycle (ISCC) 1150 MW power plant at around 18:30 local time. According to Martin County Fire Rescue, a 250-megawatt generator unit caught fire which was quickly extinguished. Despite the fire being put out, combustible material near to the generator exploded due to the heat which injured two FPL employees who were attempting to close some vents.

Firefighters managed to pull the two employees to safety, however one firefighter suffered injuries. One of the FPL employees was seriously injured and airlifted to hospital. The second employee and the injured firefighter were taken to a local medical centre where they were treated and later released.

The entire facility was evacuated during the incident before the fire was full extinguished at 23:00 local time. Fire officials said an automatic suppression system at the site, which should have extinguished the fire when it first broke out, malfunctioned during the incident.

The Martin Next Generation Clean Energy Center is a hybrid solar energy plant that also uses natural gas to generate power.

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