Nine-alarm fire breaks out at power plant in South Boston
BOSTON (AP) - A fire that began in a hydrogen generator raced
through a power plant and raised nine alarms Tuesday, coating weary
firefighters in oil and sending smoke pouring into the sky of the
city's South Boston neighborhood.
Six firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation and heat
exhaustion, and at least one civilian was also treated on the
scene.
Fire fighters said the fire was tough to fight because the power
plant had no windows, greatly reducing ventilation.
"Typically we throw the ladders, go in the windows and fight
the fire," Steve McDonald of the Boston Fire Department said.
"The metal is holding the fire in, holding the heat in. So it's
just thick black smoke, you can't see inside."
"The fire is being compounded by oil being released from the
equipment involved," Boston Fire commissioner Paul Christian said.
But the smoke blew away from residential areas toward Logan
International Airport in East Boston, reducing local residents'
exposure to the smoke, fire officials said.
Several blocks around the plant were blocked off. Boston police
asked motorists to avoid driving through the neighborhood.
Power supplier NStar said customers haven't been affected. NStar
spokesman Mike Monahan said 700 homes lost power because of a
separate circuit outage in South Boston, but "as far as I know,
that was not related to the power plant fire."
Fire officials had earlier concerns about the fire originating
from a hydrogen generator.
"Hydrogen is extremely dangerous," Christian said. But "what
is burning is the oil and the casing around the generator itself."


(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)