A civilian Coast Guard contractor was treated and released for minor injuries after the Wednesday explosion of a biomass boiler in the station’s main hangar.
According to Coast Guard spokesperson Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley, station personnel reported the explosion of the boiler to local fire and police officials at about 12:30 p.m.
The injured contractor was taken to a local hospital by medics, but is already back at work according to Lt. David Birky in Sitka.
“Fortunately, it just turned out to be some bruising,” Birky said.
The station is the first Coast Guard facility in Alaska to convert from traditional fuel-oil boilers to a biomass system which burns wood pellets. Birky says the contractor was working on installing the system, which was slated to go online in mid-November, at the time of the blast.
The explosion took the main hangar’s boiler offline, while two other boilers at the station have been shut down; no estimate of damages is available, pending an investigation of the incident. The station is presently operating on two conventional boilers, one electric and one fuel-oil.
"This was an unfortunate incident and our thoughts go out to the injured civilian contractor," said Cmdr. Ward Sandlin, Air Station Sitka’s commanding officer. "The safety of our personnel and those responding is our top priority and we are working with investigators to determine the cause of the explosion."
Contact Chris Klint