U.S. Coast Guard investigates boiler explosion

By U.S. Coast Guard | October 11, 2012

Coast Guard Air Station Sitka personnel and local authorities are investigating a boiler incident Wednesday in the air station’s main hangar.

Air station personnel contacted the Sitka police and fire departments at 12:30 p.m. to report a biomass boiler explosion in their main hangar. One civilian contractor was injured during the incident and was transported by local EMS to the hospital.

“This was an unfortunate incident and our thoughts go out to the injured civilian contractor,” said Cmdr. Ward Sandlin, commanding officer, Air Station Sitka. “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.”

The boiler system that exploded is out of commission and the other two biomass boilers have been shut down pending the results of the investigation. Air Station personnel are conducting a damage assessment to ensure there are no safety issues.

Air Station Sitka is the first unit in the Coast Guard 17th District to convert to a biomass system, which burns wood pellets instead of fuel oil.