Federal safety investigators say some Connecticut state and local officials are impeding their investigation of an explosion that killed five men in Middletown on Sunday. The blast occurred at the construction site of a power plant being built by Kleen Energy Systems.
U.S. Chemical Safety Board Investigator Donald Holmstrom says his team wasn’t allowed on the site Monday and was given restricted access Tuesday. He says the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms told members of his investigative team they can’t speak with some witnesses until local fire and state police have interviewed them.
“We not only have the legal authority for unfettered access, but we are legally required to investigate these catastrophic chemical accidents.”
But Al Santostefano, the Deputy Fire Marshall in Middletown says the site of the explosion is being treated as a crime scene and only the local fire department and the state fire marshall’s office are allowed access.
“People aren’t allowed to walk into there right now for fear of disturbing evidence.”
The U-S Chemical Safety Board has contacted the U-S Attorney’s office about the matter. The U-S attorney has declined to comment. An official from the Connecticut Fire, Emergency and Building Services met with the Safety Board to discuss the investigation at the explosion site.
For WNPR, I'm Nancy Cohen.