Explosion shuts down Xcel plant in Burnsville, injures firefighters

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 22, 2010 - 12:20 AM

A few firefighters suffered minor injuries as crews worked to put out fire at an Xcel facility in Burnsville.

A small fire and explosion hit a coal bunker Tuesday morning at Xcel Energy's Black Dog facility in Burnsville, forcing the utility to shut it down and causing a handful of minor injuries to firefighters, officials said.

The explosion at the coal- and gas-fired generating station followed a smoldering fire in the bunker. The blast happened shortly after 8:12 a.m., said utility spokesman Tom Hoen.

There has been no disruption to the utility's ability to provide electricity to customers, Hoen said.

By afternoon, Burnsville firefighters were tending to the bunker fire and an additional blaze on the roof directly above, Hoen said. Firefighters were expected to be there through most of the rest of the afternoon, he said.

The Burnsville Fire Department, government workplace safety officials and utility officials were working to determine what caused the blast.

"The plant's going to be shut down for several days," Hoen said, adding that it's too early to assess the extent of damage to the plant.

One firefighter was hospitalized with an ankle injury, said Burnsville police Sgt. Jef Behnken. Two others were washed down after soot got in their faces and resumed their duties at the scene.

Hoen said no plant personnel were harmed.

The Black Dog plant is on the banks of the Minnesota River, about halfway between Interstate 35W and County Road 77.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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