The implosion of the Kern Power Plant in Bakersfield, California was scheduled to occurred at 6 a.m. There were three separate viewing areas for those who wanted to witness the demolition but Pacific Gas & Electric were clear that they had not set up the viewing areas and were not encouraging spectators to attend the implosion.
A man that was not standing in one of the viewing areas, but was still over 1,000 feet away, lost part of one leg when debris from the power plant implosion hit him early Saturday morning. Officials would not release the man’s name, but said that the 44-year-old lost one leg and also had major injuries to the other leg. He may end up losing the other leg as well. “It was a piece of shrapnel that came flying out of the explosion and came across and went through a couple of chain link fences,” said police Lt. Scott Tunnicliffe.
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There were other injuries that occurred, most of them being minor and were able to be treated on site. 49-year-old, Fred Garten, was watching the implosion behind the perimeter, that was marked off, when a piece of metal about the size of a door came flying at him. It grazed his right leg, leaving his socks and shorts stained with blood splatter. “It’s a good gouge, but it’s just scratches,” Garten said. “I just feel bad for the other guy. They took him away on a gurney, and I’m walking.”
Kelly Patt arrived with his girlfriend several hours early to get a good view of the demolition. Patt said his girlfriend got hit with shrapnel but wasn’t badly injured. Patt said he was disturbed at seeing the man with the severed leg. “I saw that dude’s leg and I had to walk away,” he said. “There was a lot of blood, a lot of blood.”
Pacific Gas & Electric, the owner of the plant, said it is keeping the injured in its “thoughts and prayers”. “Safety of the public and employees is our first priority at all times and we are deeply saddened that at least one individual suffered serious injuries,” it said in a statement. “We will work closely with all investigating agencies and the third-party contractors who managed and carried out the demolition as they work to identify the cause of this accident.”