Sunday, August 19, 2018
Public safety

Worker falls to his death at TECO plant

TAMPA — A contractor fell to his death Monday from a catwalk at a Tampa Electric Co. power plant, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

Bryan Hagan, 31, of Mulberry, who worked for the Southeastern Construction and Maintenance Co., fell through a metal grate on the catwalk in the 1:15 p.m. accident at the Bayside Power Station, according to the Sheriff's Office and a TECO spokeswoman.

Hagan fell 40 to 50 feet and died at the scene, the Sheriff's Office said. The plant is at 3602 Port Sutton Road, near the eastern shore of Hillsborough Bay.

Cherie Jacobs, a TECO spokeswoman, said the plant had previously been converted from coal to natural gas power generation, and workers were dismantling an old boiler that no longer was needed.

"That portion of the plant is no longer in use," said Jacobs, who noted that the worker who died had been part of the project for several weeks.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to this young man's family," Jacobs said.

Officials at Southeastern Construction, located in Mulberry, could not be reached for comment. The accident remains under investigation by the Sheriff's Office.

The power plant, previously called the Gannon Power Station, was the scene of a generator explosion on April 8, 1999, that killed three workers and injured 50. TECO officials blamed employee errors for the blast, which was caused by hydrogen gas that had not been drained from a generator down for maintenance.

But the federal government blamed TECO and fined the company $25,200.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact William R. Levesque at [email protected] or (813) 226-3432.

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