Bakersfield Implosion: Man Loses Leg From Shrapnel At Power Plant Demolition [VIDEO]
The Bakersfield implosion of a power plant on Saturday resulted in the loss of a limb for one bystander, a man standing over 1,000 feet from the controlled demolition.
During the 6:00 AM Bakersfield implosion of the Pacific Gas and Electric Power Plant, a crowd of more than 1,000 people formed to watch the Kern Power Plant come down. The unnamed 44-year-old man, along with four others, was hit by shrapnel from the implosion. While the others suffered minor injuries during the Bakersfield implosion, the 44-year-old man's leg was blown off.
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"It was a piece of shrapnel that came flying out of the explosion and came across and went through a couple of chain link fences," said police Lieutenant Scott Tunnicliffe.
The 44-year-old man was taken to the hospital, where his leg was partially amputated. His other leg was injured by shrapnel from the Bakersfield implosion, and may also have to be removed.
Another spectator at the Bakersfield implosion, Fred Garten, said he was struck by metal shrapnel on his right leg, but is not seriously injured.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the owners of the power plant that was taken down in the Bakersfield implosion, say that the injured bystanders were not standing in a safe area.
"Working with the demolition specialists, we established a 1,000 foot safety perimeter," said Denny Boyles, a spokesman for PG&E. "It appears they were outside that safety perimeter."
Boyles added, "Our thoughts and prayers are with this man and the others who received injuries," Boyles said. "As a company we are deeply saddened...We will work closely with all investigating agencies and the third-party contractors who managed and carried out the demolition as they work to identify the cause of this accident."
Cleveland Wrecking Co., the Covina, Calif., company that served as the main contractor for the Bakersfield implosion, said they will be investigating what happened.
"This was a terrible accident, and our hearts go out to the individuals who were injured," the company said in a statement. "We will be conducting a full investigation and will cooperate with the authorities."
The Pacific Gas and Electric plant was decommissioned in 1986 and has sat idle ever since. Residents have been eager to get rid of the eyesore in order to make room for development.
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