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Forum Communications Co., Published October 22 2012

Man injured in Minnesota coal plant accident

SCHROEDER, Minn. - An employee of Minnesota Power’s Taconite Harbor Energy Center was injured this morning in an explosion at the coal-burning power plant.

Minnesota Power reports that emergency responders were called about 9:20 a.m. to the facility in Schroeder along the North Shore of Lake Superior and cared for a 41-year-old long-time employee who was in the coal bunker room at the time of the explosion.

Firefighters from the Tofte-Schroeder Volunteer Fire Department also were called to the scene to douse the ensuing fire. They left after extinguishing the blaze but then were called back when another hot spot was found burning in the coal.

The injured worker was taken by ambulance to Cook County North Shore Hospital and later transferred to a Duluth hospital. Minnesota Power officials said his condition was not immediately available but that he was conscious and communicative.

Amy Rutledge, spokeswoman for the Duluth-based utility, said the coal bunker facility, where coal is stored before it is burned in the steam generators, was being filled when the accident occurred. It’s not clear what caused the accident, she said. The injured man was the only one in the immediate area, she said. His name is being withheld pending notification of family.