The rupture of a 6-inch steam pipe at Unit 1 of the 1,884-MW coal-fired Homer City Generating Station in Indiana County, Pa., last week tripped the unit and sent six workers to area hospitals with burns.

The accident, which occurred at 7:45 a.m., last Thursday, triggered a shutdown of all three units at the power station. Three workers were reportedly airlifted to the West Penn Hospital burn center in Pittsburgh. Three other workers were treated at local hospitals.

Following a plant evacuation, and after ensuring that all employees were accounted for, plant operations at the station’s Units 2 and 3 resumed.

All six workers had been released from hospital by Saturday. Unit 1 remains offline for repairs.

Units 1 and 2 at the Homer City generating station, currently operated by Edison Mission subsidiary EME Homer City Generation, began operating in 1969, and Unit 3 started up in 1977.

The incident is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. “Safety is our No. 1 priority at Homer City and at all our facilities,” spokesman Charley Parnell told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. “Homer City has a tremendous record on safety. We’ve gone 856 days without an injury that an employee was not able to work. Nothing matters unless our workers go home safely each day.”

The Department of Justice, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, is suing owners and operators of the plant for alleged New Source Review violations. The plant also has pending lawsuits filed by the states of Pennsylvania and New York. New Jersey last month joined the suits as a plaintiff.

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection claims the plant “emits more than 100,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2) annually, which leads to the creation of fine particulate matter.” The agency said that the particulate matter is then “carried eastward by prevailing winds towards New Jersey, and contributes to acid rain.

Sources: Pittsburgh Tribune Review, DOJ, NJ DEP, POWERnews