Rescue operation continues at Morgantown Energy Associates’ facility

MORGANTOWN, W.V., March 2, 2001 (PRNewswire) — Rescue efforts continued Friday at Morgantown Energy Associates’ Beechurst Avenue power station, where a coal silo internal structure partially collapsed, apparently trapping an employee inside.

The 130-foot-tall silo is unstable but did not appear to shift during the night. The company is working closely with the Morgantown Fire Department and other rescue and engineering experts in assessing rescue options.

The cause of the partial collapse has not been determined. The silo is used to store and blend coal for use in the station’s 66-megawatt fluidized bed generating unit. The missing employee was believed to have been in his work area in the silo when the internal structure partially collapsed.

“We are proceeding with caution,” said Jesse Locklar, director of the power station. “Our top priority is to rescue our employee safely without endangering the lives of the rescue team. We have called in numerous experts to help in this rescue operation.”

Engineers worked through the night, reviewing plant design drawings and searching for a safe rescue answer.

Two silos are located side-by-side on the Morgantown Energy Associates’ site in the middle of Morgantown. The top two-thirds of the silos carry a two- or three-day supply of coal. The bottom third contains equipment for crushing and blending the coal before it is fed onto a conveyor and sent to the plant’s boiler. The concrete and steel silos are about 60 feet in diameter.

The facility was built and placed into operation in 1992 to produce electricity for Allegheny Power and provide steam to West Virginia University. It has a full-time staff of 52 employees; six or seven employees typically work the night shift. The plant is using natural gas to fire auxiliary boilers to provide steam for the university and its medical center.

Dominion Energy, a subsidiary of Dominion (NYSE: D – news), is majority owner and operator of the power station.

Dominion, headquartered in Richmond, Va., is one of the nation’s largest producers of energy, with a production capability of 2.7 trillion British Thermal Units of energy per day. For more information about Dominion, visit the company’s Web site at .