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Blast-Injured Workers File Suit Against Powerplant Companies

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Lawyers for two workers injured in the deadly Feb. 7 explosion at the Kleen Energy powerplant in Middletown, Conn., allege that “multiple” ignition sources were in operation while natural gas was being purged from the nearly $1-billion construction site. The suit, filed by Timothy Hilliker and Harold Thoma, electricians for Ducci Electric, Torrington, Conn., claims that welding and grinding operations were taking place at the time of the purge, with electricity on-site and a gas-fueled torch heater in use. “If you release a massive amount of natural gas and you have all of these ignition sources operative, you have the potential for disaster,” says the plaintiffs’ attorney, Joel Faxon. The suit names Kleen Energy Systems, the project’s owner; O&G Industries, its Torrington-based general contractor and minority shareholder; and Keystone Construction & Maintenance Services, Middletown, as defendants. Five workers were initially confirmed dead and 26 injured after the accident, but a sixth died earlier this week. Faxon says his firm will be filing similar suits on behalf of “at least a dozen” of the affected workers.

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