ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (June 9, 2011) – At approximately 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, June 9, a contract worker involved in the dismantlement of a building at Progress Energy Florida’s retired Paul L. Bartow Power Plant in St. Petersburg was trapped when the building he was working in collapsed unexpectedly. As of 10:30 p.m., the condition of the worker was unknown.
The trapped contract worker, an employee of Buffalo, NY-based Frontier Industrial Corporation, was the only person in the building at the time of the collapse. A total of 21 Progress Energy employees and contractors were at the site when the accident occurred.
The group had been working to dismantle the plant’s retired Number 3 boiler. The boiler section was a 180-foot structure with a 10,000 square foot base, which accounted for approximately 25 percent of the overall plant structure. This was the first boiler dismantlement to be performed as part of the project.
At the time of the accident, the crew was preparing for a controlled collapse, which was scheduled to occur at around 8:30 p.m. this evening.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the gentleman trapped in this terrible accident and his family,” said David Sorrick, vice president of power generation for Progress Energy Florida. “At this time we are solely focused on assisting first responders in their rescue effort.”
Progress Energy has been working with contractors to dismantle the Bartow steam plant following the 2009 construction of four on-site, gas/oil-fired combustion turbines and one steam turbine. Once the 1,200-megawatt (MW) combined-cycle plant came online, the use of the Bartow steam plant was no longer economically feasible.
The Bartow plant, which was named after the late Paul L. Bartow, who headed Florida Power's construction program for many years as chief mechanical engineer, began commercial service in 1958. It is located on Weedon Island, on the west shore of Tampa Bay, north of downtown St. Petersburg.
The original steam plant units had a combined generating capacity of 452 MW. The site was also home to four combustion turbine units.
Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles, including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. For more information about Progress Energy, visit www.progress-energy.com.
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