The deputy fire marshal of the town where a power plant explosion killed five people tells The Associated Press that no one is believed buried in the rubble.
The comments by Deputy Fire Marshal Al Santostefano on Monday mean the death toll will likely stand at five from the gas explosion the day before.
Mayor Sebastian Giuliano says in a statement that everyone assigned to work at the Kleen Energy plant is accounted for. He says there have been no recovery efforts there Monday because the site is too unsafe.
Santostefano said workers were at the site Sunday because they were trying to get the plant open on time — the opening was slated for sometime in the middle of 2010 — but he added “It wasn’t like they were working in a frenzy.”
One of those killed was Raymond Dobratz, a 58-year-old plumber from Old Saybrook, said his son Erik Dobratz, who called the elder man “a great dad.”
Lynn Hawley, of Hartland, Conn., said her 36-year-old son, Brian Hawley, is a pipefitter at the plant and broke his leg. She said he called her from his cell phone to say he was being rushed to a hospital.
“He really couldn’t say what happened to him,” she said. “He was in a lot of pain, and they got him into surgery as quickly as possible.”
Hospital officials didn’t immediately release the conditions of the other injured people, whose wounds ranged from minor to very serious.
The thundering blast shook houses for miles.
“I felt the house shake,” Middletown resident Steve Clark said. “I thought a tree fell on the house.”
Mayor Sebastian Giuliano said he heard it as he was leaving church.
“It felt almost like a sonic boom,” he said.
Kleen Energy Systems LLC began construction on the plant in February 2008. It had signed a deal with Connecticut Light and Power for the electricity produced by the plant, and would be one of the biggest built in New England in the last few years.
The company is run by former City Councilman William Corvo. A message left at Corvo’s home was not returned. Calls to Gordon Holk, general manager of Power Plant Management Services, which has a contract to manage the plant, also weren’t returned.
Energy Investors Funds, a private equity fund that indirectly owns a majority share in the power plant, said it was cooperating with authorities.
Safety board investigators have done extensive work on the issue of gas line purging since an explosion last year at a Slim Jim factory in North Carolina killed four people. They’ve identified other explosions caused by workers who were unsafely venting gas lines inside buildings.