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Oct 3, 2007

U.S. Chemical Safety Board Begins Preliminary Investigation of Fatal Hydroelectric Plant Fire in Georgetown, Colorado

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Washington, DC, October 3, 2007 - An investigator from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board is deploying to the site of the fatal fire that occurred at Xcel Energy Company in Georgetown, Colorado, approximately 45 miles west of Denver. The fire killed five workers and left three others injured Tuesday afternoon.

CSB Supervisory Investigator Don Holmstrom is expected at the site this morning. Mr. Holmstrom will begin a preliminary investigation of the circumstances of the accident.

Media reports indicate the fatally injured workers became trapped deep underground when a fire ignited during an operation to coat the inside of a four foot diameter pipe with epoxy. According to those reports, the underground pipe is several thousand feet long and connects a reservoir with electricity-generating turbines.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Visit our website, www.csb.gov.

For more information, contact Director of Public Affairs Dr. Daniel Horowitz, 202-261-7613, cell 202-441-6074.

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