Man's leg amputated after taking shrapnel in PG&E plant implosion

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) -- Five people were hurt by shrapnel Saturday morning during a planned demolition of the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. power plant in northwest Bakersfield.

Bakersfield Police said spectators were behind a barricade on Coffee Road that was set up more 1,000 feet from the implosion site.

A 44-year-old man was rushed to a hospital after his legs were hit by shrapnel from the implosion. Police report that one of the man's legs had to be partially amputated; the other was severely injured by the blast.

Kern County Fire officials said two other people suffered minor injuries. Another two people were treated at the scene. A few cars parked in the area were also damaged by flying debris.

PG&E said Friday that it would implode the structures, containing the boilers, just after sunrise Saturday morning. The implosion prompted a temporary closure of Coffee Road along the east side of the plant, PG&E said.

Kern Power Plant operated from 1948 until 1985, when it went into stand-by status. It was permanently closed in 1995. PG&E said it committed to clean up the site after several deals to sell the property fell through.

Video shows witnesses to injuries Kelley Patt and Fred Garten talk to photojournalist Johnny Guillen. Garten was also injured by flying debris.

Video by Eyewitness News photographer Johnny Guillen.


Video captured by the daughter of Eyewitness News viewer Anna Hackler:

Video from Eyewitness News viewer Blake Schuh shot from outside Chuy's on Rosedale Hwy.

Video by Eyewitness News photographer John Raguindin: