NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — An explosion this morning at the L.V. Sutton Energy Complex in New Hanover County ended in a worker’s death. Progress Energy says the explosion happened in one of the plant’s three coal-fired steam units.
Progress Energy says the explosion killed 24-year-old Cory Rogers. He had been an employee at the plant since 2004.
“It’s a very traumatic event for all of our employees here,” Progress Energy spokesman Mike Hughes said.
The company said Rogers was doing maintenance on one of the plant’s three coal-fired units, which was offline at the time. It was the plant’s oldest unit, dating back to 1954.
No one else was injured, and the explosion did not result in a fire. Now local, state, and federal investigators are looking into the incident that progress energy is calling an accident.
“Our employees work in dangerous conditions often times, and so we have a culture of safety within the company,” Hughes said. “But we also recognize that accidents do happen. Today we lost a member of our family here at the Sutton Plant.”
Progress Energy says the investigation will take some time to complete. There is no word yet on how it happened.
Firefighters on the scene said the explosion caused a flash fire, which is why flames did not spread beyond the initial explosion.
“You may just have your combustible materials or your flamable materials where it’s just a flash fire, but it’s not enough to sustain a fire itself,” New Hanover County Fire Marshal Matt Davis said.
Progress Energy says the plant is safe despite the explosion that happened. They say during the whole incident the area surrounding the plant was not in any type of danger.
Because of what happened here, Progress Energy, OSHA, the SBI, the ATF, New Hanover County Fire Services and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office are all involved in this on-going investigation. Progress Energy says depending on what is found would determine which agency would lead the investigation.