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Updated: 7:47 p.m. Thursday, April 4, 2013 | Posted: 4:42 p.m. Thursday, April 4, 2013

No serious injuries in Bartow County explosion



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No serious injuries in Bartow County explosion photo
An explosion Thursday afternoon at Plant Bowen in Bartow County was heard several miles away, residents in the area said. Special photo
Plant Bowen explosion photo
Emergency responders were dispatched to the plant, located just outside of Euharlee, after the explosion was reported just before 4 p.m. Thursday, April 4, 2013.
georgia power plant explosion photo
Plant Bowen is Georgia Power’s second-largest coal-fueled plant in the state and employs more than 400 people, though all were not working at the time of the explosion. The plant is situated on 3,000 acres.
georgia power plant explosion photo
Ben Gray
Corrugated metal that was once the exterior wall of a building at Georgia Power's Plant Bowen in Cartersville blew off in an explosion Thursday April 4, 2013. Although the explosion damaged the building, it only caused minor injuries to employees.

By Alexis Stevens

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

An explosion at a Bartow County power plant was strong enough to rattle windows miles away Thursday afternoon. But all of the employees at Plant Bowen were accounted for and none were seriously injured, Georgia Power said.

Because the plant is fueled by coal and is not nuclear-powered, there is no danger to residents in the area, Bartow County fire Chief Craig Millsap, also the county’s EMA director, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Through social media, news of the explosion spread quickly just before 4 p.m. Thursday as emergency responders were dispatched to the plant, located just outside of Euharlee, about 50 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta.

Georgia Power confirmed at 6 p.m. that all employees were accounted for and one person, a 60-year-old man, sustained a minor injury to his leg and was transported to Cartersville Medical Center. Three other people were treated at the scene for minor injuries, the power company said.

The plant’s coal unit 2 was being brought down for a maintenance outage when the explosion took place, Georgia Power said.

Some roads in the area, including Covered Bridge Road where the plant is located, were temporarily closed during the investigation, the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office said.

Plant Bowen is Georgia Power’s second-largest coal-fueled plant in the state and employs more than 400 people, though all were not working at the time of the explosion. The plant is situated on 3,000 acres.

Chris Marr, who lives off of Friendship Road approximately 3 to 4 miles from the plant, told the Rome News-Tribune the explosion was noticeable.

“It seemed like there was an explosion strong enough I felt the house shake,” Marr told the newspaper. “It felt like something pushed on the wall of the house.”

Georgia Power established a phone line for the public to call to inquire about family members who may have been at the power plant, the sheriff’s office said shortly before 6 p.m. This number is 706-266-9902.

Officials at Cartersville Medical Center were on alert for the possibility of any additional victims.

The incident should not cause residents or businesses to lose power, a Georgia Power spokesman said. The utility is required to keep a reserve margin of electricity during peak times, so the utility has plenty of back-up power at this point, according to John Kraft, a Georgia Power spokesperson.

Plant Bowen has four coal-fired generating units that with a rated power output of more than 3,000 megawatts, Georgia Power said..

The plant sustained structural damage, but the extend of the damage was not immediately known. The explosion remains under investigation.

— Please return for updates.

— Staff writer Kristi E. Swartz contributed to this report.

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