Local News

Progress Energy employee killed in explosion at Wilmington plant

Posted March 15, 2011 11:34 a.m. EDT
Updated March 15, 2011 5:11 p.m. EDT

— A small explosion at the L.V. Sutton Steam Electric Plant in Wilmington killed one person Tuesday.

Cory Rogers, 24, was doing maintenance on one of the plants three coal-fired steam units when the incident happened, according to Progress Energy, owner of the plant.

Rogers was working on a unit that was off-line for repairs. In a call to 911, an employee described "a hydrogen explosion in the generator" and asked for an ambulance. "We've got a man down," the caller said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family right now,” said Charlie Gates, a Progress vice president, in a statement. “We also have lost a member of our Progress Energy family due to this tragic event. This is a difficult time for all of us.”

There were no reports of power outages and no other injuries. The company said local, state and federal officials were helping with the investigation into what caused the explosion.

The Sutton plant, located off U.S. Highway 412 north of Wilmington, is one of four coal-fired power plants slated by Progress for retirement over the next few years as the utility converts to cheaper, cleaner gas power.