OUTSIDE ATLANTA, GA --
Updated 9 p.m.
Georgia Power just released this statement on the blast at Plant Bowen:
Georgia Power has confirmed an incident at the company’s Plant Bowen facility in Cartersville. Mid-afternoon on April 4, Unit 2 was beginning a maintenance outage and experienced an explosion, the cause of which is still under investigation.
All employees, including full-time staff and contractors, have been accounted for and no serious injuries have been reported. Georgia Power is working with local first responders to ensure the safety of all employees at the facility, as well as evaluating and containing any damage to the facility. This incident presents no danger to the community.
All of the plant’s four units are currently offline, pending the conclusion of the investigation. Although the plant’s four units are currently offline, the incident will not interrupt service to customers. Georgia Power has contingencies in place to ensure the highest levels of service and reliability.
As one of the largest generating facilities in Georgia Power’s system, with a rated power output of more than 3,000 megawatts from its four coal-fired generating units, Plant Bowen is located nine miles west of Cartersville off U.S. Highway 113 on more than 3,000 acres in Bartow County.
Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, one of the nation's largest generators of electricity. The company is an investor-owned, tax-paying utility with rates below the national average. Georgia Power serves 2.4 million customers in all but four of Georgia's 159 counties.
Updated 7:15 p.m.
Bartow EMA Director Craig Millsap tells WBHF-AM 1450 the explosion was caused by a malfunctioning turbine, but the incident poses no danger to the community due to hazardous materials.
The turbine was being "purged" with hydrogen gas when something ignited the gas, causing the explosion, WRGA Rome's NewsTalk reports. Still unknown is what exactly sparked the hydrogen gas.
Southern Company, parent firm to Georgia Power and one of America's largest generators of electricity, is investigating the blast and assessing damages at coal-fired Plant Bowen, Bloomberg reports. The Environmental Protection Agency also was responding to the incident at Georgia's second-largest coal-fueled plant, according to the AJC.
Updated 7 p.m.
Georgia Power officials now say a total of four people suffered minor injuries in a Thursday explosion at Plant Bowen near Cartersville. No one was seriously hurt.
Three of the injured were treated on scene, while a fourth was treated at and released from a hospital. A minor leg injury sent a 60-year-old man to Cartersville Medical Center for treatment, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"Thank you for your patience as we investigate the incident [at] Plant Bowen this afternoon," the company tweeted at 6:45 p.m. "We will share more information as it is confirmed."
All employees were accounted for by 6 p.m., according to Georgia Power.
Updated 6:05 p.m.
No one was killed or seriously injured in the explosion about 4 p.m. at Plant Bowen in Cartersville. Georgia Power just released this additional information:
Plant Bowen coal unit 2 was being brought down for a maintenance outage when explosion took place. No serious injuries, 1 minor injury.
Updated 5:50 p.m.
While Georgia Power has confirmed some type of explosion at Plant Bowen, according to published reports, the company just issued this statement via Twitter:
We're working to confirm details from Plant Bowen in Cartersville. After stabilizing [the] situation and ensuring employee safety, our aim is accurate information.
Updated 5:45 p.m.
Georgia Power has established a phone line for the public to call to inquire about their family members who may have been at Plant Bowen when an explosion occurred. The number is 706-266-9902, according to a Bartow County Sheriff's Office news release.
Bartow County Emergency Management Agency Director and Bartow County Fire Chief Craig Millsap said emergency response crews are trying to release non-essential employees on scene at this time.
Updated 5 p.m.
A source tells WRGA Rome's NewsTalk that a large-scale explosion affected Plant Bowen's tripper floor, where coal enters the plant from outside.
Plant Bowen is the second-largest generating plant in the Western Hemisphere, according to a Georgia Power publication. It employs more than 440 people.
Updated 4:45 p.m.
Emergency crews are responding to a reported turbine explosion in the powerhouse, The Daily Tribune News reports.
Bartow County Sheriff's Office officials say motorists should avoid Covered Bridge Road and Plant Bowen until further notice due to "a utility emergency incident."
Area roads are closed.
An explosion has sent emergency crews to Plant Bowen, the Georgia Power plant outside Cartersville in Bartow County.
Bartow County Fire Department personnel confirmed an explosion, but couldn't confirm if there are any injuries as a result.
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