One worker injured in power plant explosionby Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio
DULUTH, Minn. — An explosion Monday morning at a coal-fired power plant along the North Shore injured one worker.
The explosion occurred at Minnesota Power's Taconite Harbor Energy Center in Schroeder, 80 miles northeast of Duluth, and took place in one of the plant's coal bunker rooms, an area several stories off the ground where coal is brought into the plant on conveyor belts. From there the coal is fed into the plant's giant boilers.
The company identified the injured worker as Joe Fredrickson, 41, of Silver Bay. A fuels technician, Fredrickson has worked for Minnesota Power since 2001. He is being treated at Essentia Health in Duluth, and was able to walk and speak after the accident.
The Duluth-based utility is still investigating the cause of the explosion, said Amy Rutledge, spokeswoman for Minnesota Power.
"There can be coal dust explosions, certainly we take precautions to mitigate that kind of risk. At this point, though, we don't know what caused this," Rutledge said.
The plant was shut down temporarily, and still is not operating at full capacity, Rutledge said.
"Because now we're just dealing with the issue of wet coal, because of the firefighters being on the scene and making sure that the hotspots were out."