Colorado

Jun 2, 2014 12:37 PM

Mechanic blamed for starting Drake Plant fire no longer employed

COLORADO SPRINGS - The Martin Drake Power Plant mechanic blamed for attempting to remove the wrong filter during maintenance, and in turn sparking the fire that put the plant out of commission, is no longer employed by Colorado Springs Utilities.  According to a statement issued by CSU, the unnamed mechanic has "separated employment" with the company.  CSU declined to provide any additional information.  CSU's full statement is below:

As of Friday, May 30, the Martin Drake Power Plant mechanic involved in the accidental fire on May 5, 2014, has separated employment with Colorado Springs Utilities. As this is a personnel matter, we cannot provide additional information or answer additional questions beyond this statement.

According to a preliminary report from the Colorado Springs Fire Department, the mechanic told investigators that he was sent to change a filter on a turbine, and the valve allowing oil to flow to the filter was shut off.  The mechanic also told investigators that he "wasn't thinking" when he attempted to remove a different filter.  The oil flow to the filter he attempted to remove was not shut off.  Oil from the filter sprayed onto steam pipes heated to nearly 1000 degrees, sparking the fire.

 

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