2 workers still missing in wake of Ohio power plant collapse
Published by John on
Rescue efforts continue at the site of a building collapse at the former Killen Generation Station power plant in Adams County, Ohio, on Dec. 9, 2020.
The Killen Generating Station near Manchester, in Adams County, Ohio, closed down two years ago and was being prepared for demolition before it collapsed at about 9 a.m. on Wednesday, officials said. “Demolition crews have been working here forever,” Adams County Sheriff Kimmy Rogers said. “It was in the process of being torn down. These were demolition crews.”
In the hours following Wednesday’s collapse, authorities said five workers were missing. Three were found and taken to hospitals but two were still unaccounted for by Thursday morning, officials said. It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the collapse and the investigation is ongoing. Adams County residents are still reeling from the 2018 closure of the coal-burning plant that employed about 500 people and propped up much of the local economy.
“I understand the environment effect (of coal) but I would hope that if people could spend millions to close, devastating communities, they could spend millions of dollars to put something in its place,” an animated Sheriff Rogers told NBC News on Thursday. “It was the biggest employer in the county. I’ve seen what closing has done to the kids in the community. The local pizza shops and everything has had an impact from it.”
The shuttered plant is on U.S. Highway 52, about 80 miles southeast of downtown Cincinnati and a stone’s throw from the Ohio River, which separates the Buckeye State from Kentucky.
“Fran and I are praying for those still missing and for the safety of the search and rescue teams in Adams County,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement on behalf of he and Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine.
Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY Network
FOLLOW-UP STORY BELOW
Detroit-based Adamo Group and its demolition teams are known for being able to demolish big structures, like the Georgia Dome in 2017.
But the risk inherent in demolition work can be seen in another tragic incident that claimed the life of then-president, John Adamo Junior, five years ago.
What happened early on the morning of Dec. 2, 2015, in the eastern Ohio village of Beverly is coming back into focus after Wednesday’s structural collapse at the former Killen power plant in Adams County.
According to an inspection report filed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA, the federal agency that investigates workplace deaths, Adamo Jr. was killed on that December day during the demolition of the Muskingum River Power plant.
The report said collapsing towers caused a cable to strike Adamo’s legs as he “ran attempting to escape the area.”The force of the strike “tossed (Adamo) approximately 20 feet into the air” and killed him.
Another worker, identified as Employee #2, “was trapped under a fallen metal I-beam.” That worker “sustained multiple broken bones and internal injuries” but survived. As they did after that incident, federal investigators will try to figure out what caused Wednesday’s power plant collapse just east of Manchester.
A Department of Labor representative said via email: “OSHA compliance officers arrived at the site of the incident on Wednesday, December 9, 2020. OSHA has opened an investigation and are conducting interviews with the employees and employers to determine if all OSHA regulations and standards were being followed. No further information will be available until OSHA has completed their investigation. By law, OSHA has 6 months to complete their investigation.”
After the deadly incident in 2015, OSHA cited the Adamo company for violations involving things like preparatory operations and safety training and education. The company was fined more than $10,000. That incident does not indicate any wrongdoing on the company’s part in Wednesday’s incident in Adams County. OSHA will investigate and make any determination about the Killen plant site collapse.