Mechanic Connected To Drake Power Plant Fire No Longer With CSU

The mechanic who accidentally started a fire at the Drake Power Plant in Colorado Springs has "separated employment" with the utility company.

The utility company says the "separation" is a personnel issue and would not elaborate further.

The mechanic, who has not been named, reportedly made a mistake while changing a filter at the plant on May 5, resulting in lubricant spraying onto hot pipes and erupting into flames.

According to a report on the incident, the turbines are fed by super-heated steam from the boiler. The filter that the mechanic was scheduled to repair is on the latching system for the turbine. There are two different filters, and they are set up so that when one is being worked on, the other is operational. The mechanic was told that there would not be pressure in one of the two lines.

The mechanic told the investigator that he believes he turned the filter that still had pressure.

According to the report, the mechanic said that he double-checked the work order before getting started, but that when he started making the repairs "he wasn't thinking" and turned the top filter instead of the bottom one. The top filter had not been turned off, and shot the turbine oil in the direction of the hot pipes. The mechanic said that the fire happened so fast that he didn't have time to turn it back.