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Queens Chronicle

Generator explodes at Astoria power station

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Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2011 6:37 pm | Updated: 2:26 pm, Mon Aug 1, 2011.

A generator exploded at an Astoria power plant Wednesday night at approximately 7:30 p.m. when a tube ruptured, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Power Generating Company, which owns the plant.

No one was injured in the blast, but “it was a pretty powerful explosion,” said Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), who was driving on his motorcyle when he got a call alerting him to the accident.

“People actually felt it in their homes,” he said. Vallone spent three hours at the site, where fire engines and residents had gathered.

The generator that exploded was one of four at the power station. Con Edison purchases electricity from the plant, but was adamant that the blast would not affect customers, even though it’s uncertain when the generator will be fixed.

“There’s no Con Ed customer impact,” a spokeswoman for the company said.

Vallone said he was still trying to determine exactly which New York City neighborhoods receive electricity from the generator in question.

 The plant, he said, has been in the process of applying to get repowered. The blast, he noted, is “evidence of why we need new generators.”

It was unclear why the generator had exploded. In its statement, USPowerGen said its other units were unaffected by the incident and continued to deliver power. The company also said testing had been done and found no evidence of asbestos in the air.

Though no one was seriously injured, one worker was eventually treated for heat exhaustion, Vallone said.

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