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Worker recovery mission continues into weekend at collapsed Adams Co. power plant

Posted at 9:49 AM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-12 14:29:30-05

MANCHESTER, Ohio — Crews moved rubble Friday morning as the search for two workers trapped in a power plant collapse continued into its third day.

Authorities responded to Killen Generating Station around 9 a.m. Wednesday after reports that part of a building had collapsed with people inside. Those trapped were part of a demolition crew working to take down the retired power station that once operated as part of Dayton Power and Light's power grid.

By Wednesday night, crews switched from a rescue to a recovery mission.

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"This will be nonstop until they find the missing, whether it's one day, two days, a week. They will be here until they find these people," said Adams County Sheriff Kimmy Rogers.

Crews were able to rescue three workers from the rubble Wednesday afternoon. As darkness fell, they began using floodlights to search for the remaining two workers. The sheriff said rescuers will continue "as long as it takes" to find the workers in the "mangled steel and concrete."

"Those are dedicated people trying to go in there and finding people. I wouldn’t want to go in that building," he said.

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A Department of Labor spokesperson released the following statement on Thursday regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation:

“OSHA compliance officers arrived at the site of the incident on Wednesday, December 9, 2020. OSHA has opened an investigation and are conducting interviews with the employees and employers to determine if all OSHA regulations and standards were being followed. No further information will be available until OSHA has completed their investigation. By law, OSHA has 6 months to complete their investigation.”

Rogers said the building that collapsed was slated to be taken down next Monday, Dec. 14.

The building's owner, Kingfisher Development LLC, a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Commercial Liability Partners (CLP), in 2019 hired Adamo Demolition Co. to perform the demolition.

Commercial Liability Partners on Thursday released a statement saying they are “deeply concerned for the workers involved in this accident.”

“We are working very closely with our contractor at the site and doing everything we can to support local emergency personnel and first responders who are continuing to perform recovery operations. Our focus right now is on these workers and their families, and allowing local responders to continue their efforts. Each and every person at the site is in our thoughts and prayers.”

Adamo Demolition Co. lawyer Christian Hauser provided a statement Friday on the company's behalf.

"Adamo Group is cooperating fully with authorities and we will continue to investigate the cause of this accident," he wrote. "We are working with local officials and we will assist in any possible way to aid in the search and recovery of the missing workers. The safety and well-being of our employees has been, and will continue to be, our primary concern and focus. That said, we cannot discuss the status of any employee out of respect for the privacy and confidentiality of personal employee information.”

Emergency responders transported the first two individuals rescued from the wreckage to a hospital in Maysville, Kentucky, and the third person was airlifted to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

"About 300 yards by 500 yards -- complete collapse. They're currently missing five people. They have found one or two that they're treating. They do have one pinned," one first responder advised in a radio call during the initial rescue.

Rogers said responders described the first two as stable, and the third gave a thumbs up before boarding the helicopter.

It is still unclear how the building collapsed.

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Darrin Mingee, who lives nearby, was hoping to assist after the shocking incident.

“I was just wanting to help," Mingee said. "There were workers in the parking lot. They were in shock, of course.”

To the worried community and to the families of the missing, Rogers had one message: “They can rest assured that these people down there looking for them will not leave until they’re found.”