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2 Men Killed, 3 Injured During Pipe Maintenance at Power Plant

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August 30, 2017

Two people were killed and four injured after toxic gas was released during pipe maintenance at FirstEnergy’s Bruce Mansfield Power Plant in Shippingport, Beaver County.

The accident occurred late Tuesday. The team of workers was replacing an elbow joint on the pipe and upon removing the joint, hydrogen sulfide gas was released. The two men who died were located directly in the pit of a well-type area between 20-50 feet deep. One injured man was on a ladder at the time of the accident and the other two were standing above the pit.

The injured workers, “inhaled the gas but were able to make it out of the well,” said state police Cpl. Michael Miller on Wednesday. They were flown to nearby hospitals.

The two men that died have been identified as Kevin Bachner, 34, of Pittsburgh, and John Gorchock, 42, of Pittsburgh.

The three injured have been identified as Mark Wagner, 31, of Pulaski, Thomas Cantwell, 31, of Crafton, and Michael Gorchock, 43, of Pittsburgh.

The men except Wagner were contract workers for Enerfab Corp., a company that provides maintenance services to FirstEnergy. Wagner is a FirstEnergy employee.

“Safety is always our top priority, so something like this is a very tragic accident,” FirstEnergy spokeswoman Stephanie Walton said. “We extend our condolences to the families of those killed in this tragic accident, and our thoughts and prayers are also with those who were injured.”

Walton also stated, “There was no threat to public safety or to other workers at the plant.”

OSHA has also begun investigation on the accident.