Explosion rocks power plant; none hurt

Oct 2, 2013

An explosion was reported Tuesday afternoon at the GEUS steam power plant in far north Greenville.

No injuries were reported, and there was no disruption of service to the local electric utility system as the result of the blast, which caused extensive damage to the facility.

The Greenville Fire Rescue Department responded to a report of an explosion at the plant at approximately 3 p.m. Tuesday. Fire Chief Doug Caison said Boiler No. 3 at the plant exploded, blowing out a wall and creating a debris field of approximately 200 feet.

“We were very fortunate that no one was injured,” Caison said. “Our department checked the gas and utilities, as well as the structure itself, to ensure it was safe to continue operations at the facility.”

GEUS Consumer Services Manager Jimmy Dickey said the boiler “experienced a significant tube failure, releasing a large volume of steam in a short period of time.”

Dickey added a damage assessment and scope of repair evaluation was underway as of Tuesday evening.

According to GEUS, electricity for local use is generated at the plant, where the boilers heat water to produce steam, which in turn runs turbines, which rotate and drive the generators that produce electricity.

The boilers produce steam with temperatures up to 950 degrees under as much as 1300 pounds of pressure.

Natural gas usually fuels the boilers, but fuel oil can also be used when necessary, providing uninterrupted service when natural gas is in short supply.