MORGANTOWN , W.Va.An internal structure inside a 160-foot-tall coal silo at Morgantown Energy AssociatesBeechurst Avenue power station partially collapsed Thursday (March 1). One employee is missing and presumed to have been inside the silo when it collapsed.
The cause of the collapse, which occurred about 1:30 a.m., has not been determined. The silo is used to store and blend coal for use in the stations 66-megawatt fluidized bed generation unit.
“Our main concern is the safety for the missing employee,”said Jesse Locklar, director of the power station.”Every effort is being made to locate and rescue the employee, who may be trapped in the silo. The silo is being stabilized and made safe for rescuers to begin their search.”
Morgantown Fire Department officials evacuated the area immediately around the silo. A structural engineer who inspected the site said the building could suffer a total collapse and asked that the immediate area be cordoned off for safety reasons.
Two silos for storing coal are located side-by-side on the site in the middle of Morgantown. The top two-thirds of the silos carry abut a two- or three-day supply of coal. The bottom third of the silos contains equipment for crushing and blending the coal before it is fed onto a conveyer and sent to the plants boiler. The concrete and steel silos are about 160-fee tall and 60 feet in diameter.
The MEA facility produces electricity that is sold to its customer, Allegheny Power, and provides steam to West VirginiaUniversity. MEA completed the facility in 1992. It has a full-time staff of 52 employees. Typically, six or seven employees work on the night shift.
The coal-fired units were shut down. The plant is continuing to provide steam for heat to the University and its medical center through backup gas-fired boilers.
Dominion Energy, a subsidiary of Dominion (NYSE:D), is majority owner and operator of the power station. Dominion is headquartered in Richmond, Va., one of the nations 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 companys web site:http://www.dom.com