Sunday, April 19, 2009

Phoenixville Borough Sewer Department employee injured in explosion

Please pray for our injured Phoenixville employee, our police officers, and their families.


One injured in sewer plant explosion
Sunday, April 19, 2009

By Brandie Kessler,

PHOENIXVILLE — At least one person was injured during a fire that resulted in an explosion at the borough's sewer plant on Second Avenue Saturday, according to officials and other sources.

According to a press release from Phoenixville Fire Department, one person was injured from a fire at the sewer plant at 17 Second Ave. around 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Both the fire department and Phoenixville police were dispatched to the scene, where the injured person, reportedly an employee, was found.

Emergency crews, including Chester County Haz-Mat and the Chester County Communications command post, responded to the scene.

Sources said a plume of an unknown substance was visible in the area at the time the incident was reported. Initial reports indicated the injured person was on fire; however, that could not be confirmed with officials.

The fire at the sewer plant was brought under control around 1:15 p.m., according to the press release.

A helicopter was called to transport the injured person to the hospital; however, for unknown reasons, the helicopter was recalled and the injured person was transported by ambulance to Phoenixville Hospital.

Three uniformed police officers who reportedly assisted the injured person at the sewer plant were also transported to Phoenixville Hospital, presumably for evaluation and treatment.

Shortly after the injured man and police officers' arrival at the emergency room, the relative of a patient who was being evaluated in the ER came outside and reported that the emergency room was "contaminated." The man, who said his wife was being treated, reported that he was not being allowed inside and his wife was not being allowed out.

Brian Torrence, the hospital's director of marketing and public relations, confirmed in a prepared statement that "due to a potential contamination in the community, it became necessary to move our emergency department operations to another location in the hospital."

Torrence further stated that the determination was eventually made Saturday that there was no contamination and "as soon as it was determined that there was no contamination to the emergency department, services resumed in their normal location."

Sources indicated the person injured at the sewer plant was flown from Phoenixville Hospital to another hospital by medical helicopter later Saturday after being evaluated.

Calls seeking comment from Chester County Fire Marshal Harrison Holt, whose office was investigating the incident, as well as calls to Phoenixville Fire Chief Jim Gable, who is listed as the contact for additional information on the press release, were not returned Saturday night.

A dispatcher with the Chester County Communication Center said she was given instructions to send out a press release, but no further information was available. The spokesperson also said the situation, to which Haz-Mat crews were dispatched was found to not be a Haz-Mat situation; although, no one in an official capacity would be able to offer that comment.

"Basically, it turned out to be a gas leak," the dispatcher stated.

Mayor Leo Scoda, Phoenixville Police and additional contacts with Phoenixville Fire Department could not be reached for comment Saturday.

The press release indicated the incident is under investigation by the Phoenixville Fire Department and the Chester County fire marshal's office.

An employee at the sewer plant answered the phone around 5 p.m. and said there was no supervisor available to comment on the incident.

"To be truthful, ma'am, I haven't heard anything different" than what was reported Saturday afternoon, the employee said. "We haven't heard of any negative things (resulting from the incident that would affect residents). We heard there was an explosion."


Anonymous said...

This is not an good week for Borough employees. One is in bad shape from this incident and another has lost his home to fire. Thoughts go out to all of the families.

Anonymous said...

I would have liked to seen more of a story on the two police officers who stepped up and transported this man to the hospital, putting aside their fears of a HazMat situation for the sake of a severely injured man. This seems to be the real story here.
Does anyone know this man and how he may be doing? Hopefully he will make it through!

Anonymous said...

Don't expect there to be any follow up or additional information in The Phoenix...

Seems like once they write an article and don't have all the information, it doesn't matter - they just move on and never go back to get the rest.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more, 10:08. That is why I won't pay for it. Its a sad day when DW's slant on a story becomes fact.

Anonymous said...

10:08 and 3:43 - instead of thinking about the worker who is fighting for his life, you decide to bash the newspaper. Real gems of the community you both are. Show a little compassion instead of being negative.

Anonymous said...

the newspaper article wasn't about the victim at all. it was about the hazmat conditions (or lack of) and the hospital evacuation, etc. it would be NICE to know the condition of the victim, what we could do for him, etc. unfortunately the story is as usual once and done and the focus was on anything BUT the people involved. that was my point. it is hard to evoke compassion for anyone from the way this article was slanted. i think the people in this town would like to know about the human VICTIM and his rescuers.

Anonymous said...

Obviously some of you (or all of you) have no education in how hazardous or suspected hazardous conditions should be handled. while not trying to take away from what good the police attempted to do here, you also must keep in mind that had this been found to be hazardous you just contaminated every person (patient & Staff) in the emergency room and shut a hosptial down completely for those in need of immediate medical attention. You can not assume that the environment is safe or you will lose many more lives. There are many documented cases of this type of situation happeneing in unlike the Phoenixville incident, ti was hazardous and several would-be-rescuer employees and police have been killed.

Anonymous said...

My wife called and left a voice mail on the Editor's box asking the same questions as Anonymous 7:54:00. This was on Tuesday - left her name & phone number.

Guess what - No response!

Bring back the Evening Phoenix and it's staff. It was an outstanding newspaper at that time.

Anonymous said...

So it must be true that while EMS was setting up for HazMat conditions the poor victim was burning and in need of serious assistance. It must be true that the police were the ones who bravely rescued the poor man and rushed him to the hospital, in spite of the possible contamination to themselves. The police were the real heroes in this case, saving the man's life.
Shouldn't there be followup here?
The hospital did what they needed to do to protect other's health, rightly so, but did anyone tell the story of how the man, in spite of his serious injury, bravely walked into the emergency room, etc. He was a true fighter and the police were pretty gutsy as well.
Forget the Phoenix. The blogs can cover the news reporters are too lazy to get.

Anonymous said...

The newspaper is run by terrible management. There were subscribers who were having delivery stopped for not having paid their bill, but they had never received the bill in the first place. I would think that a letter or phone call could be placed inquiring about payment before they stop delivery. Not very good customer service if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Next time there is a suspected hazardous environment everyone should run in to try to be heros...maybe the next time it will be a hazarous environment..Guess how many will now be victims themselves. Very gutsy move. and ingnorant for others to belive this was the right thing. Maybe the next time it will be hydrovloric acid and we can spread that around the ER with others relatives in the ER for non-life threatening illness..and when they die will you still call the police heros? They got very lucky this time...maybe not next time!