Two people were killed and four others were critically injured on Thursday afternoon in a reported explosion at a large coal power plant near Tampa, Fla., the authorities said.
Emergency workers responded around 4:20 p.m. to the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach and found six people with severe burns at Unit 2, one of its four coal-fired units. Two people were declared dead at the scene, and the four others were taken to Tampa General Hospital with life-threatening injuries, the authorities said.
The workers, who included one plant employee and five contractors, suffered burns and other injuries, said Corey Dierdorff, a spokesman for Hillsborough County Fire Rescue. “They would be categorized as very severe,” Mr. Dierdorff said at a news conference.
A spokeswoman at Tampa General Hospital said about 7:30 p.m. that it would not immediately release the conditions of the four patients. Two people were taken there by air ambulance and the other two by ground
Officials with the Big Bend plant, which is operated by Tampa Electric, said the episode occurred while workers were conducting “routine maintenance” on a slag tank at the bottom of Unit 2’s boiler. The tank collects coal slag, a waste product formed after coal is burned, which is reused as an abrasive.