Monday, August 31, 2009

Xcel & others prosecuted

People say the strangest things: It was just an accident. Xcel Energy is being prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department (upon the request of OSHA) for the deaths of 5 people a couple years ago. More interesting to me is that individual people are being prosecuted as well, not just the corporation. Two people from the sub-contractor doing the work. The original story from 2007 in the NY Times has a nice photo showing the exterior of the worksite. Minneapolis-based Xcel issued a statement Friday that said the fire was an accident, not a criminal act. Do these people actually think the two are mutually contradictory? Well, I guess they do. Or at least, they want you to. ... occurred during the renovation of a large empty metal pipe down which water normally flowed to create hydroelectric power. Five employees of RPI Coating were trapped in the pipe when chemicals being used in the renovation caught fire and blocked their only exit. well, since Xcel is here and the fatalities were there, the Denver paper has a better article. workers were in a drained water tunnel, known as a penstock, connected to the plant, cleaning a sprayer with a flammable solvent. Vapor from the solvent ignited, causing the fire ... There is a link at the bottom of this article to a .pdf copy of the Federal Indictment. I suppose there should be a standard disclaimer: this is my personal opinion, blah blah, based upon information available at the time blah blah.

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