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Spectator loses part of leg in power plant implosion in California

Aug. 3, 2013 at 6:54 PM

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., Aug. 3 (UPI) -- The implosion of an old power-generating plant in California took a nasty turn Saturday when flying debris injured at least four people, authorities said.

A 43-year-old man had part of a leg severed by a piece of metal sent flying by the explosives detonated to take down the twin, 140-foot-tall boiler towers in Bakersfield, the Los Angeles Times reported. His condition was unknown.

Another spectator also suffered serious injuries and at least two others received minor injuries, the newspaper said. Vehicles also were struck by debris.

Several thousand people who had gathered by about 6 a.m. PDT to watch the implosion of Pacific Power and Electric's defunct steam-generated power plant clapped, hooted and hollered when it collapsed. They were about 1,000 feet away from the blast site, PP&E spokesman Denny Boyles said.

Boyles said Cleveland Wrecking Co. had been contracted by the utility to take down the power plant, and that company had hired an explosives firm and another subcontractor to carry out the demolition, the Times said.

The plant had been shuttered since 1986.

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