8 Feb 2010

Natural-gas leak may have caused fatal explosion

6:01 pm on 8 February 2010

A natural-gas leak may have caused a massive explosion at a power plant in the American state of Connecticut that has killed at least five people.

Local mayor Sebastian Giuliano says 12 people were also injured in the blast.

The death toll may yet rise, as search and rescue teams sift through rubble at the large gas-fired Kleen Energy plant, which was being built in Middletown, south of the state capital, Hartford. Almost complete, it was due to come online later this year.

A deputy fire marshal in Middletown says at least 50 people, most of them construction workers, were working on the site when a gas pipeline exploded, sparking a huge fire that took an hour to put out.

People living several kilometres away - some as far away as East Haven, a distance of 48km - said their homes were shaken by the blast. Some reported windows blown out.

Mr Giuliano has ruled out terrorism or vandalism. "Nobody set a bomb off," he says. "It wasn't intentional."

The pipeline that exploded was being tested at the time.