No One Hurt in Explosion and Fire Near the Central Landfill in Johnston

Jul 17, 2013

The mayor of Johnston said the town was extremely lucky no one was hurt during an explosion and fire near a power plant at the Central Landfill Tuesday morning. The town has padlocked the plant for safety reasons.

Entrance to the landfill in Johnston, where a fire and explosion occurred nearby.
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

The fire and explosion were reported at a generator that’s used to convert landfill gases into electricity. It’s operated by Broadrock Renewables – the same company that had a newer power station shut down last week due to concerns about odors. Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena said it appears to have been a sizeable blast.

“It looks like a bomb that went off. I mean there’s crushed metal, there’s shredded metal all over the place. It’s disas, it’s just, thank God nobody was killed.”

Polisena said the company had been given permission to reopen the older power plant but only if the town’s building inspector gave his OK.  That inspection, said Polisena, never happened.

“They just don’t follow instructions. They don’t follow orders. They don’t follow town ordinances,” said Polisena.

The town has shut the older plant down after deeming its condition “unsafe.”

Broadrock Renewables said it is cooperating fully with the investigation.  The company maintains it has a strong safety record.