Local News

Update: Man released from hospital after USCG boiler explodes

The door to one of Air Station Sitka’s wood pellet boilers is opened during a tour with U.S. Sen. Mark Begich on Saturday. The boiler immediately adjacent to this one exploded Wednesday, injuring a civilian contractor. (Photo by Ed Ronco/KCAW)

A civilian contractor was injured Wednesday at Coast Guard Air Station Sitka when a biomass boiler exploded in the station’s main hangar.

The incident happened at about 12:30 p.m.

Coast Guard Lt. David Birky said the injured man was transported by local EMS to an area hospital. He has since been released.

Air Station Sitka Cmdr. Ward Sandlin said Coast Guard personnel and local authorities are working with investigators to determine the cause of the explosion. The station’s other two biomass boilers have been shut down pending the results of the investigation.

Air Station Sitka is the first base in the Coast Guard to convert to the biomass system, which burns wood pellets instead of fuel oil.

Wednesday’s incident comes less than a week after U.S. Sen. Mark Begich toured the boiler and praised the project. Air Station Sitka was testing the new wood pellet system, and hoped to have it fully operational by Nov. 1.

KCAW will update this story if more information becomes available.




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